I have created my own headline seen above for the following piece because the original one uses the term "cleric" to describe our Imams. I dislike the term "cleric" being used within the Islamic tradition because there is no ecclesiastical hierarchy like one finds in the Catholic Church.
From the NY Times
Every seat in the auditorium at the University of Houston was taken, and the crowd was standing in the back and spilling out into the lobby, straining to hear. The two men onstage began to speak to the crowd in Arabic, with such flawless accents and rarefied Koranic grammar that some audience members gaped when they heard the Arabic equivalent of the king's English coming from the mouths of two Americans.
Sheik Hamza Yusuf, in a groomed goatee and sports jacket, looked more like a hip white college professor than a Muslim sheik. Imam Zaid Shakir, a lanky African-American in a long brown tunic, looked like he would fit in just fine on the streets of Damascus.
Both men are converts to Islam who spent years in the Middle East and North Africa being mentored by formidable Muslim scholars. They have since become leading intellectual lights for a new generation of American Muslims looking for homegrown leaders who can help them learn how to live their faith without succumbing to American materialism or Islamic extremism.