Sheikh Ali Gomaa Backs Zaytuna College

Read this great article from the Washington Times.

One of Egypt’s senior Muslim clerics supports the concept of a Muslim college being established in the United States, telling The Washington Times last week that it would help foster better relations between the West and the Muslim world.

“Things like the Zaytuna College are definitely a step in the right direction,” said Sheik Ali Gomaa, who was in Washington last week as part of a two-day conference, A Common Word Between Us and You: A Global Rights Agenda, held at Georgetown University.

Zaytuna College is expected to open next year in Berkeley, Calif., where it will offer Arabic language and Islamic legal and theological studies. The plan includes becoming a fully accredited, four-year college.

One of Zaytuna’s co-founders is Sheik Hamza Yusuf, who, after a meeting with President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11 attacks, commented, “Islam was hijacked.”

Zaytuna co-founders and Sheik Gomaa say the school would fulfill educational and cultural needs that have long been ignored.

“There are several million Muslims in the United States and rapidly growing Muslim populations in Canada, Great Britain and Western Europe. Yet, there are no accredited academic institutions capable of training students in the varied sciences of Islam while also instilling in them a sophisticated understanding of the intellectual history and culture of the West,” officials say at zaytunacollege.org. “Clearly, there is an essential need for Muslim institutions that can wed Islam’s classical texts with the contemporary context.”

Zaytuna also could help in the war on terror.

Christians and Muslims have said fighting extremism means reaching out to moderates, teaching younger Muslims that Islam rejects violence and hatred, and finding common ground – such as love of God.

Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world’s pre-eminent Islamic college, supports Zaytuna, said the sheik, who hopes the two institutions of higher learning will cooperate in several ways, including a student-exchange program.

“These are means we can explore. An exchange program can be one way to further dialogue and engagement,” Sheik Gomaa said.

Engagement and dialogue are key to dispelling misperceptions and falsehoods in the West about Islam and misperceptions and falsehoods in the Muslim world about the West.

The sheik laid out his priorities in a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Tuesday.

No. 1 is education, followed by the media and social cooperation.

He singled out curriculum and historic texts and documents.

“We are in dire need of reviewing curriculum” and rewriting texts to remove”false” perceptions, the sheik said.

“We can make massive strides forward” if that is done, he said.

Read the article here.

Let me know your thoughts!

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3 Comments »

  1. Sameer Said:

    Isn’t Ali Gom’aa the same one that gave out fatwas saying that drinking glasses of lemon juice is equivilant to drinking the prophet’s urine which will then forgive all of your sins? Or that if a non-mahram woman breast feeds her male co-workers this will make them mahram?

    this article touches upon this:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/11/world/africa/11iht-fatwa.4.6098135.html

  2. sacrosanct Said:

    Hi! Thanks for the link!
    No he wasn’t the one that issued the breastfeeding fatwa.
    He also said that the urine opinion was not in any way a fatwa, and honestly, while I heard about the breastfeeding fatwa, I have never heard about this urine statement that you mentioned so I honestly have no idea what his intention was. I will look it up and maybe post about it. But as far as I know, he is a true scholar to be respected. God knows best, though. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Mustafa Said:

    It is also important to bear in mind that the Egyptian press is perennially ravenous for the flesh of the country’s religious authority, not afraid to publish misrepresentations and even outright lies. Many of the strange things attributed to Shaykh Ali Gomaa have been distorted or fabricated, as part of a deceitful smear campaign against the shaykh.


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