The Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union
With the academic and religious resources to offer a distinctively interfaith and interdisciplinary approach, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) founded the Center for Islamic Studies (CIS) in 2007. The center’s purpose is to build an academic base to help scholars and students of many faiths understand Islam as a living world religion. The center emphasizes interaction among contemporary Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities.
In cooperation with several GTU member schools, the center offers introductory and advanced courses in Islamic history, theology, philosophy, culture, arts, and religious practice. It strengthens GTU ties with departments at the University of California, Berkeley — such as African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, Near Eastern Studies, South and Southeast Asian Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies — that intersect with the study of Islam.
CIS sponsors conferences, symposia, workshops, and research projects to build bridges of understanding across religions and cultures and to foster scholarly exchange.
CIS serves as a liaison with local Muslim communities and study centers, sharing resources in homiletics, interfaith scholarship and dialogue, pastoral psychology and counseling.
Zaytuna College aims to educate and prepare morally committed professional, intellectual, and spiritual leaders, who are grounded in the Islamic scholarly tradition and conversant with the cultural currents and critical ideas shaping modern society.
Since its founding by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in 1996, Zaytuna has been attempting to address these issues through a variety of educational programs. Zaytuna’s vision has always been to create a lasting institution of higher learning. To that end, we launched a pilot seminary program in 2004 that graduated five students in 2008. Based on our experience with the pilot program, we are moving forward with our plans to establish the first accredited Muslim college in the United States.