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Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University

Posted January 13, 2015
Updated January 14, 2015

— A weekly call to prayer for Muslims will be heard at Duke University starting Friday, school officials said.

Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will chant the call, known as adhan or azan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower each Friday at 1 p.m. The call to prayer will last about three minutes and be “moderately amplified,” officials said in a statement Tuesday.

“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.”

In majority Muslim countries across the globe, the adhan is broadcast from mosques and on television and radio stations five times a day to correspond with prayer times. On Fridays, the day of worship in Islam, sermons are also broadcast.

In the United States, amplified adhan exists in a handful of communities.

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

The announcement by Duke drew criticism from Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. He took to social media on Wednesday to express his views and urge Duke donors to suspend support.

"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," he said on his Facebook page.


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  • John Lobenstein Jan 15, 2015
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    This is insane.

  • bobperrync Jan 15, 2015

    Duke University was founded with an aim "to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God"

    If nothing changes, then in less than 22 hours, the Duke Chapel will be used as a minaret to broadcast (in Arabic):

    "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.
    I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

    What would James B. Duke say if he were alive to see Duke Chapel used to assert a faith in anything other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

  • jate Jan 15, 2015

    Duke Blue Devils. That sure seems to fit now. I have lost all respect I had for that University. How could you let Muslims invade our campus like this? When is the last time a Christian, Jewish or any other religion was broadcast over the speaker? Pure disgusting and pathetic they would let this happen in this country. It won't be long and will have to take up arms do defend our nation and take it back before it is too late. This is just unheard of. I will never ever have respect for this school again!

  • rolliby Jan 15, 2015

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    Actually - the alarms on our cell phones are supposed to go off with alert texts when we are invaded by terrorists on school campuses. They should be going off any second now.

  • Terry Watts Jan 15, 2015
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    I'm not a Muslim so I can't speak to the specifics, but I'm pretty sure that Jesus is viewed as a Messenger of God (ie a Prophet) by Muslims... Further research or input from a Muslim would be helpful here...

    As for what Private Entities do (churches), I don't see why Duke (a private entity) choosing to allow Call to Prayer makes a difference in how another Church (also a private entity) conducts itself.

  • Mike Watson Jan 15, 2015
    user avatar

    Annnnd once again Christians have their panties in a wad.

  • DeepInThought Jan 15, 2015

    Considering Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic religion I am shocked at the bigotry on this comment site. Muslims do acknowledge Jesus Christ, they don't acknowledge him as the son of God, but as a prophet of God.

    Yes, what Duke is doing it at first sound a bit shocking, but I really don't see the issue with it.

  • rickspyker Jan 15, 2015

    Oh, I see what you did there. Yes, I'm sure having a Muslim call to prayer from the campus Christian chapel is exactly what Duke's founders had in mind when they wrote that. Again, how does that promote the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God? If you're saying these Muslim students are acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God, then that's a good thing. Is that what you're saying? And BTW, do you know if the mosque in Durham is going to allow Christians to broadcast Christian teachings through their PA system? Because, you'd have to agree that the need to do that, right?

  • beinni Jan 15, 2015

    When is the last time a Christian, in the name of Christianity, videotaped themselves beheading another human being, and stated more beheadings to come? Also, what about the latest murders in Paris where the Islamic terrorists shouted out this was for revenge - when's the last time you saw Christians on TV with that? Islamic extremists are a branch of Muslims and moderate Muslims do NOTHING to separate themselves from the extremists. For Duke to do this RIGHT after the murders in Paris is a slap in the face to all decent people.

  • Terry Watts Jan 15, 2015
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    "...to promote a sincere spirit of tolerance; to discourage all partisan and sectarian strife..."