Duke University has decided to reverse its plan to sound the Muslim call-to-prayer from a chapel bell tower on campus after receiving a wave of backlash from Christians who called the plan unfair.
“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, a local CBS affiliate reported. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
The university had intended to allow the Duke Muslim Students Association to chant the call to prayer — called the adhan — on Friday from the Duke Chapel bell tower.
Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, explained that the call “connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation,” CNN reported.
The plan was swiftly rejected by religious groups.
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on Facebook: “As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering and beheading Christians, Jews and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism. I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”
Mr. Graham’s message was shared nearly 60,000 times.
“When did Christians end up being the bad guys! Political correctness is going to destroy this country,” Nancy Kain Walls responded. “God help us.”
“I have a feeling that separation of church and state in this country only applies if its Christianity,” wrote Cindee Parker. “Any other religion is free to do whatever they wish.”
“It is a CHAPEL not a mosque,” Merrie Spencer Rancourt wrote. “Duke was founded as a Methodist university. If muslims want to have a call to prayer, then they should purchase the land and build a tower, just like Methodists built the Chapel.”