LOS ANGELES — Less than a week after controversy erupted over an announcement that a Muslim call to prayer would be broadcast at North Carolina’s Duke University, it has come to light that students at UCLA in California have been doing so for some time.
On Friday, a video was published on YouTube of students broadcasting the call to prayer on the north side of the UCLA campus near the athletic field off Sunset Boulevard. While the audio is faint, Arabic-style chanting can be heard in the footage as students gathered on the lawn.
The university does have an Islamic Student Association on Campus, which meets for jummah prayers in the Pyramid Room on the second floor of the John Wooden Center. It also publishes a Muslim news publication known as Al-Talib.
“I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshiped except Allah,” the common Muslim chant, known as the adhan, declares. “I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. … Allah is most great.”
Reports state that the adhan has been broadcast at UCLA for some time—to the consternation of some who were already perplexed by the Duke matter.
“The call to prayer is something that is blasted over loudspeakers in Muslim majority countries and Muslim enclaves around Detroit,” wrote Carol Brown of American Thinker. “We’ve already heard enough ‘Allahu Akbar’ for a lifetime.”
As previously reported, Duke University had outlined in its student paper earlier on Tuesday that the “moderately amplified” chant would take place beginning Friday from the chapel bell tower.
“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 reported. “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.”
But as the call to prayer made headlines nationwide, some expressed concern over the accommodation in light of the violence that thousands of Muslims are committing worldwide in the name of Allah. Duke University was flooded with calls and emails from those nationwide that opposed the accommodation. On Thursday, the university announced that it had changed its plans.
Instead of having the Muslim call to prayer broadcast from the chapel bell tower, Duke University said that Islamic students would instead gather outside of the chapel to chant their call to prayer before moving inside to continue their meeting. On Friday, approximately 100 Muslim students attended the call to prayer, which was broadcast from the chapel steps via a small speaker.
According to reports, another 300 students gathered in support of the Islamic call to prayer, including students who professed to be Christians.
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.
Photo: Nikhil Kulkarni