call to prayer

Duke Reverses Decision to Allow Muslim Call to Prayer

Photo via Erini Barker / Flickr / RNS

Duke Chapel sits at the heart of the Gothic-style campus in Durham, N.C. Photo via Erini Barker / Flickr / RNS

Officials at Duke University abruptly dropped plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer from the iconic bell tower of Duke Chapel after online protests led by evangelist Franklin Graham and unspecified security threats.

The decision on Jan. 15 came one day before the “adhan,” or traditional call to prayer, was to be broadcast from the heart of campus in Durham, N.C.

Michael Schoenfeld, a Duke vice president for public affairs and government relations, said in a statement the school remains committed to “fostering an inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming campus” for all students but “it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Schoenfeld said campus officials were aware of several security threats but declined to elaborate.

Graham, who leads his father’s Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from the other end of the state, in Charlotte, said the call to prayer includes the words “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” which was shouted by Islamist militants during last week’s deadly attacks across Paris.

“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 said on his Facebook page.

British TV Channel’s Call to Prayer Stirs Controversy

Photo courtesy RNS/

Hassen Rasool, Muezzin of Channel 4′s Broadcast. Screenshot of Video. Photo courtesy RNS/

With a stated aim to “provoke,” Britain’s best-known TV company, Channel 4, is justifying its live daily broadcast of the “adhan” — the early hour Muslim call to prayer — and sparking applause as well as anger.

The broadcasts, airing each morning at 3 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, will continue throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We are focusing on the positive aspects of Islam and hoping to explain to a broader public what Ramadan is, and what it means for the 2.8 million Muslims who take part in the UK and provide a platform for different views and different voices,” said Ralph Lee, the network’s head of programming.