Zaytuna College was founded by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Imam Zaid Shakir and Hatem Bazian, chairman of American Muslims for Palestine. Its website says it was created to â€œrestore broad-based and pluralistic scholarship to its proper place as a central priority of Muslims.â€ It only offers two majors at this time: Islamic Law and Theology and Arabic Language.
Hamza Yusuf is a co-founder, the president and a senior faculty member.
In 1995, Yusuf called Judaism a â€œmost racist religion.â€ The following year, he made an unequivocally anti-American statement at a Islamic Circle of North America conference:
â€œ[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 in the false gods of this society whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights.â€
In an undated interview, Yusuf complained about â€œwhat happened in the 19th century with the abdication of Islamic Law and the usurpation of its place by Western legal systems.â€ He also accused the U.S. of trying to â€œunite the worldâ€ so â€œeverybody will have the same banal perspectives on the world.â€ He stood against the â€œdominant world order, which is a capitalistic, Western world order.â€
On September 9, 2001, he said that the U.S. is â€œfacing a very terrible fate,â€ â€œstands condemnedâ€ and â€œhas a great tribulation coming to it.â€
His tune changed after 9/11. In October 2001, he said that Muslims are treated better in the U.S. than in most Muslim countries, and â€œI donâ€™t want to contribute to the hate in any shape or form. I now regret in the past being silent about what I have heard in Islamic discourse and being part of that with my own anger.â€ In 2006, he spoke out against anti-Semitism and admitted he had been â€œinfectedâ€ by it but â€œgrew out of it.â€
In September 2014, Hamza Yusuf endorsed a letter opposing the Islamic State terrorist groupâ€™s tactics, but endorsed sharia governanceâ€™s brutal hudud punishments, the recreation of a caliphate and the Islamist doctrine of gradualism. It even implied that journalists that are viewed as dishonest as acceptable targets for violence.[8a]
Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, the chairman of the board, a senior faculty member and the chair of the Student Affairs Committee.
Shakir preached in 1992 that the Muslim world needs a new Caliphate that will wage jihad and â€œuse â€¦ weaponry against the enemies of Islam.â€ He legitimizes attacks on U.S. soldiers, saying, â€œIslam doesnâ€™t permit us to hijack airplanes filled with civilian people … [but] if you hijack an airplane filled with the 82nd Airborne, thatâ€™s something else.â€ He teaches that Hezbollahâ€™s bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 was not a terrorist attack.
Shakir says that attacks inside the U.S. are not permissible because Muslims have a â€œcovenant of protection.â€Â He promotes 9/11 conspiracy theories, saying the attacks â€œoccurred under dubious circumstances that have yet to be thoroughly investigated.â€ He accuses the U.S. of â€œdemonizingâ€ Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Hugo Chavez and depicts Al-Qaeda, Hamas and terrorists in Iraq and Chechnya as fighters against imperialism.
In 2003, he preached that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was part of a war against Islam and accused the U.S. government of persecuting Muslim-Americans. He said that Muslim-Americans should participate in jihad through institution-building, particularly in education and media.
In 2006, it was reported that â€he said he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.â€
In April 2012, he wrote a poem that depicted the U.S. as a warmongering country whose soldiers ravage Muslim countries and murder and rape innocent civilians. In December 2012, Shakir said the school shooting in Newton, Connecticut should â€œserve as a reminderâ€ of whatâ€™s happening to children in Gaza, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere, comparing the massacre to U.S. and Israeli military operations.
On April 10, 2004, he said that Muslim-Americans need to follow in the footsteps of the â€œuprising in Iraqâ€ (which was against U.S. soldiers) and â€œintifada in Palestineâ€ by starting an â€œintifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here.â€ Apparently aware of the aggressiveness of his statement, he said, â€œTheyâ€™re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radicalâ€”well, you havenâ€™t seen radicalism yet.â€ He later appeared on The Oâ€™Reilly Factor about the speech and refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah.
In June 2012, Bazian characterized the U.S. as a racist country that uses Third World countries to fight its wars: â€œThe United States wants India to balance China, because if there is a conflict with China, we always like that the darker people fight our war and the more these people die is better for the officers because racism can be manifested across many sectors.â€
Bazian also accused the U.S. government of trying to dismember the Muslim-American community under the guise of counter-terrorism. He said, â€œIn the post 9/11 era there is [a] strategic and systematic process of targeting the Muslim leadership of organizational structures by eliminating the existing leadership that has developed over the last 40 years.â€
Islamist rhetoric is present in some of the lectures that have taken place at Zaytuna.
In a January 2012 lecture, Shakir said that the U.S. is controlled by a â€œsmall oligarchy.â€ He also recommended that Muslims advocate for â€œthe enforcement of anti-defamation statuesâ€ against what he considers anti-Muslim bigotry.
On September 17, 2012, Yusuf, Shakir and Bazian spoke together at Zaytuna. Bazian claimed that the â€œmilitary-industrial complexâ€ is behind the â€œIslamophobic production industryâ€ in order to get Americans to approve of killing Muslims:
â€œThose who are working on Islamophobia, they believe that the more hatred we have of Muslims in here [America], the more that we have reflexive hatred of Muslims abroad, thus authorizing or making the need for military action and the death and destruction more palatable to us without having to think we are actually killing humans,â€ he said.
In the same lecture, Shakir expressed his condolences for the family of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, who was killed in a terrorist attack, but he coupled it with condolences for the families of eight Afghan women who were â€œbrutally murdered by NATO bombs in Afghanistan.â€
Yusuf spoke in favor of laws prohibiting speech that â€œmocksâ€ religion. He cited incidents where artwork mocking Christianity was banned in the United Kingdom and Sweden and said anti-Muslim speech is a â€œpresent and imminent danger.â€
â€œI want to argue that when the First Amendment, which is such a beautiful testimony to the ideals of this country, was enacted, there were dueling laws in the United States of America and the dueling laws were actually a caveat to make sure you didnâ€™t use freedom of speech to abuse other people,â€ Yusuf said. 
 Schwartz, Stephen. â€œIs Cat Stevens a Terrorist?â€ Weekly Standard, September 22, 2004. https://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/667bkgnr.asp?page=2
 Oâ€™Sullivan, Jack. â€œâ€™If You Hate the West, Emigrate to a Muslim Country,â€™â€ The Guardian, October 7, 2001. https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/oct/08/religion.uk
 â€œInterview with Sheik Hamza Yusuf,â€ PBS Frontline World, https://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/canada602/interview_yusuf.html.
[8a]Â Mauro, Ryan. â€œMuslim Leaders Sign Letter Against ISIS, But Endorse Sharia.â€ Clarion Project, October 1, 2014.Â https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/muslim-leaders-sign-letter-against-isis-endorse-sharia
 Audio of the sermon was posted online.Â â€œImam Zaid Shakir: Failure of the Muslim Political Order Part 2,â€ Umar Lee YouTube channel, December 18, 2012. https://youtu.be/yJgw30fejwo
 â€œCAIR Speaker to Muslims: OK to Attack Fort Bragg,â€ WorldNetDaily, November 11, 2009. https://www.wnd.com/2009/11/115687/
 â€œJihad: A Just Struggle or Unjust Violence? â€“ Zaid Shakir,â€ IslamOnDemand YouTube channel, March 13, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IjxFVLoPKY&feature=share&list=PL16A2C88FB6FF398A
 â€œJihad: A Just Struggle or Unjust Violence?â€”Zaid Shakir.â€
 Zaid, Imam. â€œWho Are the Fascists?â€New Islamic Directions, October 24, 2007. https://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/articles/who_are_the_fascists/
 â€œSomali Pirates: More of the Same or New Way Ahead,â€ New Islamic Directions, May 6, 2009. https://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/print/somali_pirates_more_of_the_same_or_a_new_way_ahead/
 Zaid, Imam. â€œWho Are the Fascists?â€
 â€œImam Zaid Shakirâ€”Iraq Crisis,â€ ilmisfree YouTube channel, May 12, 2012. https://youtu.be/-UGj-FlkOiI
 Goodstein, Laurie. â€œU.S. Muslim Clerics Seek a Modern Middle Ground,â€ New York Times, June 18, 2006. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/18/us/18imams.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&
 Zaid, Imam. â€œWar Chronicle / Peace Plea,â€ New Islamic Directions, April 30, 2012. https://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/war_chronicle_peace_plea
 Campbell, Susan. â€œFrom Imam Zaid Shakir,â€ Hot-Dogma.com, December 19, 2012. https://hot-dogma.com/2012/12/19/from-imam-zaid-shakir/
 Footage can be viewed at the following link: https://zombietime.com/sf_rally_april_10_2004/movies/SF_4-10-4_Hatem_Bazian1.mov
 â€œBerkeley Prof Slithers on Call for â€˜Intifadaâ€™ in America,â€ FrontPage Magazine, May 14, 2004. https://archive.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=13019
 â€œDr. Fai Reiterates to Continue Work for Kashmir Cause,â€ Kashmir Media Service, June 25, 2012. https://www.kmsnews.org/news/2012/06/25/dr-fai-reiterates-to-continue-work-for-kashmir-cause.html
 â€œThe Irony of Democracy, a Zaytuna Faculty Lecture by Imam Zaid Shakir,â€ Zaytuna YouTube channel, January 30, 2012. https://youtu.be/INXT5_j_0OM
 â€œThe Irony of Democracyâ€”Part 2 by Imam Zaid Shakir,â€ Zaytuna YouTube channel, March 22, 2012. https://youtu.be/Wztq1KWHVUc
 â€œBetween Militarism & Extremism: The Excluded Middleâ€, Zaytuna YouTube channel, September 28, 2012, https://youtu.be/Jo1z_eSHdHE