[guest post by Dana]
“The Muslim call to prayer is one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset” – Barack Obama
Duke University announced today that they will be broadcasting the calls to prayers for Muslim students on Fridays:
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.”
Explaining their decision, Christy Lohr Sapp, Associate Dean for Religious Life:
This opportunity 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.
In 2004, Duke University President Broadhead to Dr. Phyllis Chesler in response to her challenging his decision to allow the Palestinian Solidarity Movement to hold its annual conference on campus:
“All ideas are not equal, but it is a foundational principle of American life that all ideas should have an equal opportunity to be expressed. Universities, in particular, must give wide latitude to free speech and free debate because the pursuit of truth through the encounter of divergent points of view is the very stuff of education. When universities get in the business of suppressing speech, however vile, it lends credence to the notion that it is a legitimate function of the university to suppress speech. A notion is thereby validated that then can be activated on another occasion-perhaps to suppress our own dissent or unpopular expression. The day we start making it easy to shut down others’ opinions is the day we license a curtailment of freedom from which we could each suffer in our turn.”
No bias, no judgment, we welcome everyone. Except when we don’t: In 2014, the university named anti-Israel Omid Safi as Director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC); then there was the bigoted and disgraceful presumptions of guilt by the the faculty and university president Richard Brodhead during the Duke lacrosse scandal; and the LGBT bigotry toward gay-hating-Chick-Fil-A and simultaneous anger at the university’s right-wing-Federalist Society for serving the restaurant’s products at campus events.
Update: Duke University reverses its decision on the Muslim call to prayer:
In the face of mounting controversy, Duke University reversed itself Thursday afternoon and announced it will not allow a Muslim call to prayer from its iconic chapel Friday.
Apparently, the complaints at Duke University’s Facebook page were numerous.
A Duke administrator had earlier touted the move as a way to promote religious inclusiveness at the school. But the university received hundreds of calls and emails, “many of which were quite vitriolic,” Schoenfeld said. “The level of vitriol in the responses was unlike any other controversy we have seen here in quite some time.”
There also were security concerns, Schoenfeld added.
Time will tell if this is the last word on the matter.