Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Duke University Imam Discusses Reversal of Call to Prayer

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Duke University Imam Discusses Reversal of Call to Prayer

Article excerpt

Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke University says that there may yet be a teachable moment for Muslim students.

On Friday, the school bowed to pressure from one influential Christian evangelist by reversing its previous support for a Muslim call to prayer, what was previously seen as university backing of religious diversity on campus.

"While it is unfortunate that Mr. Graham [Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization and the son of evangelist Rev. Billy Graham] felt such a need to make the statements that he did this can still be a learning opportunity for students," Mr. Zeb says in a phone interview.

Franklin Graham viewed the Duke University plan to hold weekly Muslim calls to prayer as an attack on Christianity and the hashtag #boycottduke began a rapid rise with the help of Mr. Graham's efforts on Facebook, where his call to withhold support from Duke was shared over 77,000 times.

I just heard Duke university is going to allow Muslim prayers from their bell tower every Friday in the name of religious pluralism.SHAME-- Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) January 14, 2015

In his statements on Facebook, Graham made it clear he makes no distinction between the peaceful Muslim religion and the Islamic extremist attacks around the globe.

"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" Graham posted.

The chant, which announces the start of the Duke group's jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m., lasts about three minutes and was to be moderately amplified, according to a Duke University press release.

I am glad to hear that @DukeU reversed its decision to allow Muslim call to prayer from its chapel bell tower. They made the right decision!-- Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) January 15, 2015

According to Zeb, his students are "very frustrated, very sad and very shocked" by the cancellation of the amplified call to prayer.

Zeb says that now Muslim students and others on campus wishing to take part in the prayer will meet on the quadrangle outside the Chapel before gathering in the Chapel for prayers. …

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