After Backlash, Duke University Reverses Decision to Allow Muslim Call to Prayer

Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC. (Wikipedia photo)
Duke Chapel on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC. (Wikipedia photo)

Duke University has reversed its decision to allow a Muslim call to prayer to sound from a campus chapel bell tower, school officials announced Thursday.

Plans changed because the Durham, North Carolina, school’s effort to “unify was not having the intended effect,” Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said in a statement.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” Schoenfeld said.

The Duke Muslim Students Association had planned to chant the call, or adhan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower. The adhan signals the beginning of the weekly prayer service. Jummah prayers have taken place in the basement of Duke Chapel for many years, the statement said.

While it’s unclear what specifically led to the university’s decision, there were no shortage of opinions on both sides after Thursday’s reversal.

Franklin Graham, son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, applauded the school. Graham had called on donors to withhold support over the plan to allow the adnan.

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Stephanie Gallman

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