Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.
“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
…“Members of the Muslim community will now gather on the quadrangle outside the Chapel, a site of frequent interfaith programs and activities,” Schoenfeld said.
The university did not say whether the Muslim call to prayer would be “moderately amplified” at the new location.
The credit reportedly goes to Franklin Graham, who called for donors to pull their funding from the historically Methodist university if the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast from the Chapel bell tower.
Christian and Jewish groups hold respective services in private settings on campus. While Duke is one of the few universities to have a full-time Muslim cleric and dedicated Center for Muslim Life on campus, the location is apparently not considered an adequate space for prayer. Without a legitimate reason given, the Muslim students at Duke remain steadfast in their campaign to make Muslim prayer a public event on the Duke campus.