DURHAM, N.C. — Concerns are being raised after Duke University’s student paper announced this week that the Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast from university’s bell tower each Friday.
“Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will chant a weekly call-to-prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower beginning Friday, Jan. 16,” Duke Today outlined in a report on Tuesday. “The chant, called the ‘adhan,’ announces the start of the group’s jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m.”
The university further outlines that the adhan, customarily performed in Arabic, “is typically chanted from the minaret of the mosque to remind the faithful of prayer five times a day.” But in this case, it will be held weekly as an invite to Muslims on campus to participate in the Friday high prayers.
“I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshiped except Allah,” the adhan declares. “I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. … Allah is most great.”
“Students passing by the chapel quad at 12:45 p.m. on a Friday afternoon might catch sight of the student muezzin facing Mecca in the chapel tower,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, wrote in a piece for the News Observer. “If those same students do not have earbuds in, they might catch a strain of the Arabic proclamation, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ which means ‘God is great!’ And, if they are so inclined, they might say a quick prayer under their breath or even pause for a moment’s reflection.”
Duke University, which was founded by Methodists and Quakers in the 1800’s and carries the motto “Knowledge and Faith,” notes that it hired its first full-time Muslim chaplain in 2009 and also launched its Center for Muslim Life that same year. It says that there are more than 700 students at the Bible Belt university that identify as Muslim.
While Duke University has a variety of student groups on campus, and according to CNN, has “dedicated spaces … for various faiths, including Jews, Hindus and Buddhists” as well as Christians, officials at the university says that their latest decision to allow the Muslim call to prayer at the bell tower demonstrates the institution’s diversity.
“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Sapp told the student newspaper. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”
But some are expressing concern that Islam is being welcomed and accommodated so easily in light of the violence that thousands of Muslims are committing worldwide in the name of Allah, whom they believe has called them to take over the world with Sharia law.
“I wonder how Duke or atheists would feel if Christians wanted to recite the Lords Prayer once a week?” Tweeted local radio talk show host Bill LuMaye.
Franklin Graham said that sponsors should withhold their funding until Duke ends the practice.
“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,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”