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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Friday, January 16, 2015

UPDATED: Duke University Cancels Muslim Prayer Call Plan - University Had Intended to Use Chapel Tower for Weekly, Amplified Call to Prayer for Muslims


From The Wall Street Journal:

RALEIGH, N.C.—Duke University has canceled its plan to use the tower of its chapel for a weekly, amplified call to prayer for Muslims.

In a release Thursday, the university said Muslims will instead gather on the quadrangle before heading into a room in the chapel for their weekly prayer service.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Under the canceled plan, members of the school’s Muslim Students Association would have recited the call lasting about three minutes from the bell tower. However, the plan drew the ire of evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, who urged Duke alumni to withhold support because of violence against Christians that he attributed to Muslims. He wrote on Facebook that the decision is playing out as “Christianity is being excluded from the public square.”
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And from The Washington Post:

Duke University canceled plans Thursday to begin a weekly Muslim call to prayer from the campus chapel this week, an initiative that had set off debate on social media. A school spokesman and a Duke Muslim leader said that a serious and credible security threat played a role in the decision.

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, . . . said Thursday night that a “serious and credible” security threat was one of the reasons for the decision. University officials declined to elaborate.

Omid Safi, director of Duke’s Islamic Studies Center, said Thursday evening that the call to prayer was scaled back because of “a number of credible threats against Muslim students, faculty and staff.” The school, he said “is treating this as a criminal matter” and that the threats are “external.”

Duke today is non-sectarian but has historic and symbolic ties with The United Methodist Church. Its bylaws were recast last year to say its purposes are grounded in the Christian tradition of intellectual inquiry and service to the world. Sapp described the chapel as “a church.”

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