To promote the development of a program in Islamic Studies at the graduate level in School of Religion of the Claremont Graduate University that teaches Islam in the integrity of its own expression in relation to multi-faith communities.
A partnership between a School of Religion of international standing and the leadership of the Muslim community of southern California to find way for the academy to play a constructive role in how Islam and Muslims are understood.
A venue in which Islamic scholars and community leaders come together with scholars and leaders of other faith traditions for mutual understanding and cooperative intellectual, cultural and research projects.
A study of Islam that emphasizes the rich heritage of Islamic texts and Islamic peoples that emphasizes Islam’s cultural formations—literary, artistic and poetic. A study of Islam that integrates its relations to Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity, as well as Islam’s engagement with social issues, politics, economics and multiculturalism.
Build an effective Council composed of leaders of the Muslim community representing the cultural diversity within Islam, including scholars, civic, religious and lay leaders, philanthropists and key community members with wide social networks.
Establish a graduate program in Islamic Studies, an MA and eventually a PhD. An MA in Islamic Studies to prepare graduates to teach in schools and community colleges and provide those working toward a PhD with one of the most sought after specializations. A doctoral program would prepare students for college and university teaching, provide for opportunities for student and faculty exchanges with key universities in the Middle East, North Africa, Persia and Asia and support research on the literary heritage of Islam and contemporary Muslim societies.
Support a cultural center to foster community engagement in cultural and intellectual activities focused on Islamic culture and civilization in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Turkey and Islam’s contribution to history, culture, art, music and politics.
Responding to the Needs
Islam is growing rapidly in America. In the United States, Muslims now number between six to eight million people. By 2010 the U.S. Muslim population is expected to double, making Islam the second-largest religion in the nation after Christianity.
Americans are seeking a deeper understanding of Islam and of its relations to the other monotheistic traditions Public schools, colleges and universities, as well as political, religious and civic organizations are seeking teachers and experts on Islam. Within the growing Muslim community there is a need for teachers and leaders who have a knowledge of Islam based on sound academic training and ability to read and evaluate original sources. Within the US there are 4 million Muslims. Of the estimated 800,000 to a million Muslims in California, approximately 500,000 live in Southern California where they are served by 65 mosques and Islamic Centers.