In a move that has received tremendous praise but also an outpouring of disgust, Duke University announced that it will now hold a weekly call-to-prayer chant for the 700 Muslim students who attend the school. The chant will be broadcast from the bell tower, and thereby heard by everyone, Muslim or not.
According to a press release from Duke University, members of the Muslim Students Association will have the opportunity to recite the call that takes about three minutes to complete. The school also said that while the chant will be amplified, it will only be at a moderate level.
The time of the chant will coincide with the prayer service held in the chapel by members of the group. In a statement from Christy Lohr Sapp, the associate dean for religious life for the chapel, this shows the school is seriously committed to all religions.
Interestingly, with Duke University being founded by Quakers and Methodists, the divinity school has long been associated with the United Methodist Church. Whether other religious groups will be offered similar accommodations remains unknown but most people agree this will prompt protesting of some kind.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, strongly encouraged the alumni of Duke to stop supporting the school based on the violence that Christians have had to endure because of Muslims. On his Facebook page, Graham posted Duke University’s announcement to offer the Muslim call to prayer every Friday.
He went on to post that while Christianity is excluded and Islam followers are being butchered, raped, and responsible for the beheading of Christians, Jews, and others who do not believe the same way, Duke University has decided to promote their actions in the name of “religious pluralism”. Graham then urged alumni and donors to stop supporting the university until the decision was changed.
Duke University’s decision comes during a time when anti-Muslim sentiments have grown in France, Germany, and other Western nations following recent terrorist attacks carried out by extremists of Islam. While many people agree with what Graham said, others feel his statements single out all Muslims as being bad people, which is not true.