Duke Drops Chapel Muslim Call to Prayer

Duke University reversed plans to broadcast the traditional Muslim call to prayer from Duke’s historic Chapel Bell Tower, school officials said Thursday. The gesture was intended to demonstrate the university’s commitment to religious pluralism, but instead prompted a flood of hateful messages over the phone and online, including from Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, who took to Facebook to criticize the school’s decision. Muslim students, who represent more than 700 of Duke’s some 14,000 students, will instead gather for their call to prayer in a grassy area in front of the chapel before proceeding to their weekly service. School officials had originally planned to have members of the Muslim Students Association recite the chant, or “adhan,” to be amplified over the loudspeaker. “Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming campus for all of its students,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”