Local News

Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University

Posted January 13, 2015 4:49 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2015 5:13 p.m. EST

— 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.