Duke University’s Decision to Sound Muslim Call to Prayer Riles Some

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(CNN)The Muslim call to prayer will sound from a bell tower at North Carolina’s Duke University — but not everyone is considering the chant music to the ear.

Starting Friday, the Duke Muslim Students Association will chant the call, or adhan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower. The adhan signals the beginning of the weekly prayer service. It’s ubiquitous in Muslim countries the world over; not so in the Carolina piedmont.

The call will last three minutes and will be only “moderately amplified,” the school said.

Duke, which got its start in the late 19th century with help from the Methodist church, says the move “represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission.”

“It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation,” said Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life.

Various Christian denominations hold prayer and worship services in the chapel. The school also has spaces dedicated spaces on campus for various faiths, including Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.

“Just as the bells announce chapel worship in the building on Sundays, the adhan announces Muslim prayers on Fridays,” the chapel said.

Duke is a big name nationwide. US News and World Report rated it among the top 10 American universities.

Another big name in the state is strongly denouncing the school’s decision.

Franklin Graham, son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, took to his Facebook page to call on donors to pressure the university into reversing course.

“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. “I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”

The post has been shared tens of thousands of times.

Many of the comments came from readers who view the decision as the university giving Muslims privileges not afforded to Christians.

“When did Christians end up being the bad guys!” Nancy Kain Walls wrote on the page, offering a sentiment shared by many other posters. “Political correctness is going to destroy this country. God help us.”

But others praised Duke and urged restraint.

“STOP SPREADING HATE” wrote one woman.

Another, April Haynes, wrote “Duke has not taken away their Christian or Catholic services. What a ridiculous post.”

On Twitter, a similar back-and-forth played out.

“Duke University is going to start airing Muslim prayer over speakers every Friday, do they display the 10 commandments on campus also?,” tweeted @Jami_USA

On the other side were those congratulating the school.

“Very proud and happy that I work at Duke,” tweeted Li-Chen Chin.


  • Heath

    Guarantee you that if they were doing something to promote Christianity, the ACLU would be knocking down their door. However, because of political correctness nothing will be done about this. We cannot do anything to offend Muslims. Like Jami tweeted, do you think it would be acceptable to display the Ten Commandments on their campus? Absolutely not.

  • Shock_For_The_Day!

    Wow! What a shocking decision on the University’s part. They couldve just offered muslim alarm clocks in the bookstore, if being religiously balanced is their goal.

  • arnold fudpucker

    The atheists should be allow to hang their banner or whatever it is they use from the bell tower. I mean lets be fair about this. Come on people, this country was founded as a Christian nation. It’s fine to be tolerant of the other religions but there is no reason to cave to these militants.

  • NE

    Duke is a private university. They can do whatever they please with their grounds. There can be all the 10 commandments in the world. No Christian is losing anything here, Muslim students are being allowed to use the same facilities as everyone else. The fear mongering and hate has to stop. Love God before all others, love your neighbor as yourself.

    • arnold fudpucker

      “Fear mongering”! Pick up a paper, listen to the news or something. If you can’t see what is going on around you then you are either stupid or part of the problem. It is way past the time to stand up against these religious (?) fanatics.

      • NE

        I’m more scared of a right wing gun nut accidentally shooting me in line at Walmart open carrying than I am being hurt my an Islamic radical.

  • John Mitchell

    Riles some? Another attempt by 5news to make this sound like just a few “kooks” think this is wrong. On the contrary. They don’t think we can see their hypocrisy. But what else do you expect from a bunch of liberals.

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