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Duke University Reverses Plan for Campus-Wide Muslim Call to Prayer from Chapel Bell Tower, PA System

( [email protected] ) Jan 15, 2015 05:03 PM EST
Duke University has cancelled its plan to begin Muslim call-to-prayer chant. The school announced earlier this week that it would begin this call over the college's campus PA system every Friday beginning tomorrow at 1 p.m. The North Carolina college campus is sounding the traditional chant from the Duke Chapel bell tower to mark the start of the Duke Muslim Students Association's weekly prayer in the chapel's basement.
Duke University's Chapel bell tower will sound the Muslim call to prayer every Friday. Photo: Tim Buchman

Duke University has cancelled its plan to sound the Muslim call-to-prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower.

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said, "it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect," according to Fox News Insider

Earlier this week, Duke University announced that it would begin a Muslim call to prayer over the college's campus PA system every Friday beginning tomorrow at 1 p.m.

The North Carolina college campus is sounding the traditional chant from the Duke Chapel bell tower to mark the start of the Duke Muslim Students Association's weekly prayer in the chapel's basement.

The chant is said to last three minutes and serves to invite anyone to the prayer ceremonies.

"The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity," said Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke. "The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke's intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity." 

"This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke's mission," added Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel's associate dean for religious life. "It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation."

But Christian leaders are raising their eyebrows at the promotion of Islam on the college campus as Christianity continues to get shuffled under the rug. Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, is one of those opposed to the university's decision, taking to Facebook to express his frustration. "As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering, and beheading Christians, Jews, and anyone who doesn't submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism. I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed."

Although Duke University is a private university, it was founded by Methodist and Quaker leaders in 1838. According to the institution's bylaws, an aim of Duke University is to "assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ." No word yet on if the university plans to revise those bylaws.

Many who oppose the call to prayer bring up various points about the equality that the move claims to promote. "Duke University is going to start airing Muslim prayer over speakers every Friday, do they display the 10 commandments on campus also?," one Twitter user asked.

Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress discussed the situation with Fox News' Steve Doocy, bringing up the fact that the university claims diversity, but pushes its own agenda, including the cancellation of a pro-life event that was planned.

"Those who cry loudest for tolerance are often the most intolerant when it comes to viewpoints they disagree with. This is a travesty coming from a school that was originally founded as a Christian school by Methodists and Quakers," Jeffress said in the interview.

Jeffress called on Evangelical students at the university to recite John 3:16 on the loudspeakers. 

"I wonder how far that request would go," he said.