Recently, Duke University announced that they were going to allow the Muslim Call to Prayer to be broadcast from the Duke Chapel bell tower every Friday morning. They claimed that they were taking this move to help make the university a welcoming and friendly place for their more than 700 Muslim students, faculty and staff.
The announcement drew a lot of criticism from around the nation and from supporters. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham took to Facebook to condemn Duke’s Islamic actions. Graham urged those who donated to Duke University to pull their support and stop giving them money as long as they promoted Islam. He posted:
“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.”
Omid Safi, Director of the Islamic Study Center at Duke responded to Graham’s post, saying:
“Every day from that same Duke chapel, church bells ring, and twice on Sunday. The cross is on the emblem of Duke University. The entire quad, and the entire campus of Duke University is laid out as a cross. And the Christian chapel is the very symbol of Duke University. So the kind of fanatical proclamation that Christianity is being erased from Duke’s campus is frankly a poor indication of the intelligence of that argument.”
The first thing I would ask Safi is if any Muslim mosque would chime out bells for a Christian celebration or if they would allow a Christian call to prayer to be broadcast from a minaret? Safi acknowledges that the chapel is a place of Christian worship and a symbol of the Christian faith, so why would a Christian chapel even want to participate in a religion that advocates the destruction of Christianity? Safi wants Christians to be tolerant of Islam yet Muslims are completely intolerant of Christianity.
The backlash from Graham and the public has now caused Duke University officials rethink using the chapel bell tower to broadcast the Muslim Call to Prayer. Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations issued a statement on Duke Today, saying:
“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students. However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
I applaud Graham for speaking out against Islam and encourage more Christians to do likewise. However, Franklin Graham and others may hail Duke’s decision to rescind the Muslim Call to Prayer, but I think they are missing the point. Duke didn’t backtrack out of respect for Christianity but because of public outcry and the loss of financial donors, therefore they truly have not changed their mindset and the underlying issue still remains.
Universities like Duke have been catering more and more to Muslims while at the same time denying Christians their constitutional rights. They demonstrate that they have little to no regard or respect for Christianity or Christians but are fully supportive of Islam and Muslims. Or they fear Muslims more than Christians because Muslims resort to violence when they don’t get their way and generally Christians don’t.