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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.
What that means in an Islamic context is still being hashed out, but already US-born clerics appear more willing to break taboos and to work more inclusively with allies than the current crop of full-time imams, 85% of whom were born abroad, according to a 2011 study.
Muslims at Duke were devastated, and once again, Zeb faced a crisis with no playbook.
The unspoken thought, he said, was “That could’ve been us.”“I think everybody’s really scared.
Turk said there’s also an emphasis on the history of Islam in the United States.
That means putting a sharper focus on deeply rooted African-American Muslim communities, which make up a large bloc of the nation’s more than 3.3 million Muslims but are often overlooked in a national discourse that centers on the immigrant experience.
Just three students were in the first class in 2011.
Today, 53 grad students — including 21 women — are learning Islamic leadership skills in a curriculum that pushes criticalthinking and cultural fluency.
Just that day, he’d frozen for a half second when a Starbucks barista asked his name for the order.