Duke University reverses decision to allow Muslim call to prayer from chapel bell tower

PHOTO: Facebook/Duke University

Duke University announced on Thursday that they have changed their decision to allow a Muslim call to prayer to be amplified through the bell tower of the campus' Methodist cathedral.

According to Fox News, the first adhan, or a call to prayer, was scheduled to sound on Jan. 16, and was to be done every Friday at 1 p.m. The chant was to include the moderately amplified words "Allahu Akbar" which means God is great.

Duke University's decision had stirred strong reactions, notably from evangelical leader Franklin Graham.

Speaking to Fox News, he said: "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 alleged that Islam is not a peaceful religion and that allowing the call to prayer in a Christian chapel was similar to desecration, according to Fox News.

He used his Facebook page to speak out against Duke University and expressed his delight when it U-turned on the prayer call.  

"I am glad to hear that Duke University reversed its decision to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its chapel bell tower. They made the right decision!" he told his nearly half a million followers.  

Dr Robert Jeffress, pastor and Fox News contributor, accused Duke of trying to be politically correct in its attempts to spread the message of equality and diversity. Jeffress accused the school of hypocrisy, as not long ago it tried to cancel a pro-life event at their women's centre.

Currently, Duke University has a growing population of more than 700 Muslims out of the school's 14,850 students. Six years ago, the university created the Center for Muslim Life and hired a chaplain.

Jeffress further challenged the university's promotion of religious pluralism and accommodation of diversity.

"If I were an evangelical student attending Duke University, I would go to the administration officials today and say that after the 1 p.m. call to prayer by Muslims - I want to get on the public address system and quote John 3:16. I wonder how diverse Duke would be with that request?" Jeffress said.

Duke University spokesperson Michael Schoenfeld released a statement on the reversal of the decision.

"Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming campus for all of its students. However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect," Schoenfeld told Fox News.