Home / National News / Duke Reverses Course, Won't Allow Muslim Call to Prayer from University Chapel


(DURHAM, N.C.) — Duke University will not present a traditional Muslim call to prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower on Friday, reversing course on a previously announced plan.

The call to prayer traditionally announces the start of a weekly jummah prayer service, which has been held in the chapel basement for several years. “Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations for Duke, said. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

The school says that the jummah prayers have taken place in the basement of the Duke Chapel “for many years,” and traditionally start with the call to prayer chant. That chant will now occur on the quadrangle outside the chapel, and prayers will occur at the regular location.

More than 700 of Duke’s approximately 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students identify as Muslim.

“Our Muslim community enriches the university in countless ways,” Schoenfeld said in a statement. “We welcome the active expression of their faith tradition, and all others, in ways that are meaningful and visible.”

The announcement earlier in the week that the call to prayer would come from the chapel’s bell tower had led to a denunciation from evangelist Franklin Graham.

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