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Zeb understood at that moment, in early 2015, that it was time for Muslim leaders like him – American-born, American-educated – to stand up for their communities in a new era of anti-Muslim hostility that’s worsened with the rise of President Donald Trump.
For years, US Muslims have been trying to build an all-American Islamic authority to bridge cultural gaps in immigrant Muslim communities and attract US-born worshippers who seek greater independence from conservative institutions in the Middle East and South Asia.
“So we take the tradition and we apply to it critical-thinking skills and a diverse perspective, and it’s here for the American Muslim context in particular.
We want to be a beacon.”Turk’s familiarity with the everyday frictions of Muslim life in America might be his single greatest asset as Bayan’s president.
He went with “Turk” rather than “Jihad.”“It’s just easier,” he said with a chuckle.
Housed within the Claremont School of Theology, Bayan is part of a proliferation of US-based Islamic training centers in recent years, ranging from brick-and-mortar colleges with accreditation to less formal, online-only seminary courses.
“So, no, no one’s really ready for it, but I think you find solidarity in the collective anxiety.
We’re mobilizing.” Jihad Turk, 45, knows firsthand the disconnect many young Muslims feel from their clergy.
Zeb saw the looming challenges of Islamic ministry in the United States on the tear-streaked faces of college kids mourning three of their own.Reader notice: Our comments service provider, Civil Comments, has stopped operating and will terminate services on 20th Dec 2017.As a result, we will be searching for another platform for our readers.Some two dozen seminaries and other US-based Islamic training programs have sprung up in recent years, laboratories for a new generation of US-born clerics.
But, as in Zeb’s case, the first graduates of those programs are going straight from seminary to the battlefield, thrust into the activism of the moment by young Muslims who’ve made it clear that the bookish imam of yesteryear isn’t going to cut it now – their clerics need to be woke.
Zeb was still reeling from the Duke ordeal when, not even a month later, another blow came: Three Muslim students were gunned down 20 minutes away, in the rival college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.