We invite the Duke and broader communities to continue supporting religious diversity, acceptance, and coexistence.
Leaders of the Duke Chapel were given approval from Duke University’s administrators for their initiative to encourage religious pluralism by allowing Duke’s Muslim community to give their call-to-prayer weekly from the Duke Chapel bell tower. Muslims at Duke currently hold communal Friday prayers in the Chapel’s lounge, and has been doing so for about three years. Once a year, this prayer is held on the Chapel Quad with moderately amplified sound in celebration of Islam Awareness Month.
The effort to deliver the call-to-prayer from the bell tower is a part of a wider movement to increase on-campus presence of religious groups as well as tolerance and coexistence. For example, in 2011, Duke’s Jewish community had shared the Chapel’s bell tower by playing a Chanukah song, Maoz Tzur, for its Latkapalooza event (goo.gl/Zl4fLN).
We, Muslims at Duke, truly appreciate the University’s administrators for initially approving and encouraging the idea, and for providing Muslim students with many other amenities and accommodations, such as a Center for Muslim Life, a full time chaplain and staff assistant, a prayer room on West Campus, funding for large scale events, and recently, zabihah/halal meat options in many eateries. However, we want to show that Duke students are also tolerant of religious pluralism and are ready for this next step towards coexistence, despite intolerant comments and threats from others.
After the compromise to hold the call-to-prayer at the Chapel steps, we have been receiving an outpour of support and hope for an event or petition to re-approve this initiative, for which we are very grateful. Despite the setback, these events call to attention the distasteful comments and messages that remain prevalent. We believe the call-to-prayer from the bell tower would have been a manifestation of the commitment towards fulfilling religious diversity and coexistence on campus.
Stand with us to strive towards religious pluralism at Duke and beyond. We invite you to sign the statement of support below.
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