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Duke Changes Its Decision, Will Not Broadcast Muslim Call to Prayer from Chapel Bell Tower

Officials from Duke University have announced that they are changing their decision to allow a Muslim call to prayer to be regularly broadcast from its chapel bell tower. The school—which was first founded by a community of Quakers and Methodists in the mid-1800s—initially said it would allow weekly, “moderately amplified” calls to prayer to be chanted from the historic chapel by members of the school’s Muslim Students Association. The school, which has an enrollment of 14,850, is home to about 700 Muslim students. The plan came under fire from some high-profile critics including Franklin Graham, who drew some controversy for writing 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.” He also called for donors to withhold their donations until Duke reversed the decision.

In a statement, the school’s vice president for public affairs and government relations said, “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.” He also said that the move led to “credible concerns about safety and security.” Muslims students will now meet outside the chapel for the call to prayer (the location of many interfaith meetings), before going to the basement where they typically pray …

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