Locally the Durham North Carolina media are reporting the typical leftist reason for backing down, threats from religious right wing extremists and zealots. However, the reality is that Reverend Franklin Graham virtually single-handedly was about to destroy the University’s financial future….
Via Todd Starnes – Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.
“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
The first adhan, or call to prayer, had been scheduled to be broadcast on Jan. 16. University officials said, the Islamic chant, which includes the words “Allahu Akbar” would have been “moderately amplified” — in both English and Arabic.
However, the decision brought a firestorm of national criticism from a number of high profile leaders including Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.
Graham said Muslims have a right to worship in America. He also said there are millions of “wonderful people in Islam that want to live their life and raise their children and they want to be free.” But he also said that Islam is not a peaceful religion.
In a Thursday interview with WRAL News, Graham refused to back down, even for those Muslims who have condemned radical Islamic actions.
“I don’t feel I owe an apology to anybody. I think Duke University, they owe an apology,” he said. “They’re the ones who owe the apology to Christian students and the ones who donated money for the chapel.” (link)
“This is a Methodist school and the money for that chapel was given by Christian people over the years so that the student body would have a place to worship the God of the Bible,” Graham told me in a telephone interview.
He had called for university donors to pull their funding – (and I suspect that had something to do with Duke’s decision.)
Instead, the prayers will be moved to outside the chapel.
“Members of the Muslim community will now gather on the quadrangle outside the Chapel, a site of frequent interfaith programs and activities,” Schoenfeld said.
The university did not say whether the Muslim call to prayer would be “moderately amplified” at the new location.
Christy Lohr Sapp, Duke’s associate dean for religious life, heralded the Muslim call to prayer in a column published by the NewsObserver.com.
“The use of it as a minaret allows for the interreligious reimagining of a university icon,” Lohr Sapp wrote.
For the record, the university says the chapel is not exclusively used for Christian worship. It’s used by students of many different religions.
She imagined what it would be like for a students to walk through the chapel quad and “catch the sight of the student muezzin facing Mecca in the Chapel tower” and how “they might catch a strain of the Arabic proclamation, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ which means ‘God is great.’”
“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission and connects the university national trends in religious accommodation,” Lohr Sapp said.
I suspect that would not have gone over very well on Friday, September 11, 2015. Imagine the nation pausing to remember the 2001 Islamic terror attacks as students at Duke University heard the words “Allahu Akbar” echoing from the school’s chapel bell tower. (read more)
Chuck Norris has a picture of Franklin Graham on his wall.