New York Times Whitewashes Islamist Zaytuna College

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


islam_americaZaytuna College was founded by three Islamists with a history of anti-American rhetoric, but you wouldn’t know that if you read the New York Times puff piece about the California school. Readers are left to believe this is a moderate Muslim institution that will “foster an American Islam” to lead the Muslim world into the 21st century.

Zaytuna College is based in Berkeley and is an unaccredited school that operates on a $4-5 million budget. According to the Times, it has only 30 students and less than 10 professors. The author states that he hears it likened to “a Muslim version of the great Catholic colleges, like Georgetown or Notre Dame.”

Keep that comparison in mind as we go through the records of its three founders: Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian.

Hamza Yusuf is the President of Zaytuna College. He was number 42 on last year’s list of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims. He has mourned “what happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic Law and the usurpation of its place by Western legal systems.” In the same interview, he accused the U.S. of trying to “unite the world” and criticized the “dominant world order, which is a capitalistic, Western world order.” In 1996, he proudly displayed his anti-Americanism:

“[America] is a country that has little to be proud of in its past and less to be proud of in the present. I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe the false gods of this society, whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights.”

To be fair, Yusuf’s rhetoric has become more moderate since 9/11. One month after the attacks, he said Muslims are treated better in the U.S. than most Muslim countries and that he “regret[s] in the past being silent about what I have heard in Islamic discourse and being part of that with my own anger.” He later lamented having been “infected” by anti-Semitism. He had called Judaism a “most racist religion” in 1995.

Zaid Shakir is the chairman of the board and the Student Affairs Committee of Zaytuna, whose extremism has been repeatedly documented by ClarionProject.org.  The New York Times, the very same outlet that carried this pro-Zaytuna article, reported in 2006 that “he said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.”

ClarionProject.org found audio  from 1992 of him preaching that the Muslim world needs a new Caliphate to wage jihad and “use…weaponry against the enemies of Islam.” He has suggested that the hijacking of aircrafts transporting U.S. soldiers is justified and he preaches to students that Hezbollah’s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon was not an act of terrorism.

Shakir regularly depicts the U.S. military as barbaric. His immediate reaction to the Newtown school shooting was to compare it to U.S. and Israeli military operations. He published an anti-American poem in April 2012 that depicted American soldiers as murderers and rapists. In 2003, he preached that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was part of a “war on Islam” and he accused the U.S. government of systematically persecuting innocent Muslim-Americans.

Hatem Bazian is the Academic Affairs Chair of Zaytuna and chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, an Islamist group that holds conferences that are like a party for radicals. The last one had a special session on teaching children about its cause.

He is seen in The Third Jihad calling for an “intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here,” comparing the needed intifada to the “uprising in Iraq” and the “intifada in Palestine.” He has similarly accused the U.S. government of warmongering, racism and of trying to “targeting” the Muslim leadership at home.

Though the New York Times showcases Zaytuna as a model of moderation, videotaped lectures at the school tell a different story. Shakir taught that the U.S. is run by a “small oligarchy” in January 2012. In September, the three held a joint lecture where Bazian taught that the “military-industrial complex” created an “Islamophobic production industry” to justify destructive wars. In the same lecture, Yusuf spoke in favor of restricting speech that “mocks” religion, a change that would bring the U.S. into greater compliance with Sharia Law. Shakir has expressed a similar view.

The New York Times isn’t alone in overlooking Zaytuna’s background. The article quotes Scott Korb, the author of a flattering book about Zaytuna named “Light Without Fire” as saying that “The message from the founders is clear: America is home.” The Presbyterian Church likewise published a book warning about the “rise of Islamophobia” that puts Zaytuna in a positive light.

As John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence…” They can’t be altered—but they can be hid.

This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Leftist media and academia is in bed with Islamist designs as it dovetails with the upending of America. However, it doesn't mean patriots American have to submit to their will. Not at all – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/26/us-western-wa

    There are remedies, just follow the links within…

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • WilliamJamesWard

    No matter what we hear from these people there can be no trusting them, they are not peaceful
    and law abiding, thier basics are felonious in our system of law and order. As America degenerates
    into a post hedonistic society into one of depravity, lacking foundational guides that have made
    America a geat Nation, the wolves are not at the door but in your bed, little red robin hood
    is a story with and ending that provides a solution…………………..William

  • Cassandra

    “[America] is a country that has little to be proud of in its past and less to be proud of in the present. I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe the false gods of this society, whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights.”

    This tells it all.

    Hate for America
    Here to install sharia and Islam perverse doctrines
    Here to destroy America.

    How can we let people like that on our soil.? In the name of freedom?I the name of human rights?

  • Chezwick

    JOHN ADAMS: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence…”

    Want to bet? Just read the mainstream media on any given day.

  • Jaladhi

    All leftists are idiots as shown by NYTimes piece on this anti US Muslim college. They(the left) are enablers of Islam in this country and all Western countries. They do not know Islamic history and even if they know it they white wash it to hide the real atrocious face of Islam and Muslims.

    What business Islam and Muslims have in any non-Muslim country when in Islamic countries simple human rights are denied to non-Muslims, e. g., Saudi Arabia where non-Muslims are not allowed to practice and build places of worship for them – churches, synagogues and temples where as mosques in the West are multiplying like rabbits. The left and likes of NYTimes cannot see this simple fact. In fact they will refuse to recognize the truth about Islam even if it stared directly in their front of their eyes!!

  • watsa46

    The NYT and other left organizations see anything to their RIGHT as their ENEMY. Islam inot yet an issue for the left.
    Both the Republicans and Democrats have introduced the Trojan horse.

  • N. Tahan

    No one has the balls to stand up against these criminals. Free plane rides to Mecca and close the doors.

  • Brian

    I have said this before and I am saying this again…….if any immigrant hates America then leave and go back to your country of origin. And for the offspring s of the immigrants, you can leave too if you don't like a democratic country. If you need help packing…..cell me and I will help you.

  • Questions

    “Islamic higher learning” — isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    The Bill of Rights is a false god? Someone needs to point out to this man that the Bill of Rights is not a god, false or real but a list of things that Americans (at least) are entitled to by their creator (God) and which make his hateful words allowable in this society. Societies in which there is no such guarantee turn quickly on their heroes, transforming them overnight from patriots to enemies of the state depending on the whim of those holding the power to manipulate the crowd.

  • Matriarch

    Typical Americans & I'm Australian. Not only does the entire world, Western & Islamic know you're all very stupid & lack education of sorts but your arrogant. America has stuck it's nose into one too many battles & now you want to complain Islam is at your door. It's the same old take with "White Folk" conquer lands, take people or invite them to do their work, once it's done-LEAVE!

    You're all too pathetic to see your own ideology that's just as violent & aggressive in nature. If you had any decency at all you'd look inside before you pointed outwardly calling others the enemy.
    I could go on, but there's a simple fact, you're all too stupid to realise who's actually the enemy. You send your Government to war & now you want to cry because the "Baddies" are coming to get you? Pfft! If you weren't so cowardly you'd have some of the worlds respect. But as they say "The people are very much a representation of it's leadership" if it's true for Muslim Countries, then it's been true for America since it's birth!

    Get an education & travel a but, actually remove your racist goggles & you might be disgusted with what people have to say about "America" then you can decide who really are the traitors!

    Good Day Fools, Long Live Islam & The Fear It Brings With It! :)