Never doubt the power of your voice. Duke University, which had planned to begin sounding the Muslim call to prayer each Friday from the school’s bell tower has decided it is not worth the static it received.
Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, said “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.
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.
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.
“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 said.
He had called for university donors to pull their funding – (that might have had something to do with Duke’s decision.)
At about 4 p.m. Thursday, Graham expressed his agreement with Duke’s decision in a new Facebook post: “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!”