Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies

The Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies administers the major and minor in Islamic and Arabic Studies. It is committed to supporting teaching and research on the lives of Muslim and Arabic-speaking peoples past and present.

The center’s study of the Islamic world focuses on the global context in which Islam emerged historically, the cultures and societies that it helped shape, most especially in Eurasia and Africa, and the current global condition in which people in the Islamic world situate them-selves today. It sees the Arabic language as the cultural medium for diverse ways of life that are of world historical significance.

Founded in 2000, the center is multi-disciplinary and includes in its scope of study the Arabic and Persian languages and literatures; the history of Muslim and Arabic-speaking peoples; political, economic,and social dynamics of contemporary societies; art and architecture; social, political, religious, and philosophic thought; and the experience of Muslim communities in the United States and around the world.

20th Anniversary Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies SDSU 2000-2020

The Center’s goals are

to develop and sustain a state of the art curriculum in Islamic and Arabic Studies at SDSU.
to organize outreach activities and programs that help educate the San Diego community at large
to engage in scholarly research in the national and international arenas.

News and Events

CIAS Faculty Talks and Writings About Recent Israel-Palestine Events

Teach-in on Israel/Palestine events

On October 18, SDSU's Political Science Department held a teach-in on the events in Israel/ Palestine that was attended by about 350 people.  

Additonal Events and Writings



2019 Shah Family Gifts Bolster Center

Salim and Francoise Shah have been avid supporters of the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies since its founding in 2000. They held fundraisers in their home and found community support, which made it possible to establish the center. The goal was to create not only an academic program but a hub for community outreach.

Their recent gift to CIAS continues the family’s legacy of support.  “As we approach the 20th anniversary of the center’s founding, we saw it fit to expedite the pledged gift to be given now rather than from the estate. Also, in the current polarized environment with rampant Islamophobia, it’s important for people to have a chance to hear an objective source for truth,” said Salim Shah.

Read the full story about the Shah Family.

In Memoriam
Françoise Shah passed away in 2023. She will always be remembered by the faculty, students, and donors of CIAS.

Shah Family and Faculty