Duke University reverses plan for bell tower Muslim call to prayer

Duke University cancels plans to allow the Muslim call to prayer to emanate from its chapel bell tower amid criticism from conservative Christians.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 16, 2015) (NBC) – Duke University scrapped plans on Thursday (January 16) to allow the Muslim call to prayer to emanate from its chapel bell tower, university officials said, amid fierce criticism from conservative Christians and anger from alumni.

Earlier in the week, university officials said the weekly chant by Muslim students, known as the adhan, would be amplified from Duke Chapel beginning on Friday.

“They apparently bent to pressure,” said Khalilah Sabra, executive director of the Muslim American Society.

A Muslim call to prayer was held at the university on Friday, but it did not come from the bell tower.

“We were presented with some significant and credible concerns about safety and security,” explained university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld of the decision.

In addition, the school received negative feedback from the university community, including alumni, he said.

Evangelist Franklin Graham was among those who protested the broadcasting of the Muslim call to prayer.

“My problem is using the chapel that was built to be a house of worship that worshiped Jesus Christ as the Son of God,” he said, after urging donors and alumni to boycott the university in a Facebook post.

Duke University has Methodist roots but is non-sectarian.

The Gothic-style Duke Chapel, one of the school’s best-known landmarks, is an interfaith locale where Hindu students, as well as groups from various Christian denominations, hold services.

Muslim students have held Friday services in the building’s basement for several years.