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-Duke University Muslim ‘Call to Prayer’ Debacle

by Dr. D ~ January 16th, 2015


Earlier this week, Duke University announced that they were going to sponsor a regular Muslim Call to Prayer on Fridays. The Muslim prayers were going to be broadcast over loud speakers from the chapel bell tower on campus.

The school administrators believed that this would be good for promoting religious pluralism. But their timing could not have been worse in face of all of the diverse responses around the world to the Paris Islamist attacks. They really weren’t ready for all of the controversy the plan stirred up and the literally thousands of negative comments and responses to it on the Internet.

In the end, the Duke administrators cancelled the plan to broadcast the prayers though Muslim worship would continue on Fridays in a more subdued way on campus. Predictably they cited security concerns but the reversal more likely came so quickly in response to a firestorm of complaints from their alumni and major financial contributors.

Here’s just one comment that single-handedly incited a huge amount of responses among Evangelical Christians all across America. From Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

“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. I call on the donors and alumni to withhold their support from Duke until this policy is reversed.”

Response: The amplified broadcast of the Muslim Call to Prayer is not an example of pluralism but religious propaganda and domination. The traditional Muslim prayer (Adnan) is broadcast 5 times a day in Muslim countries and starts out with a familiar phrase used by nearly every terrorist:  Allahu akbar  “Allah is the greatest.” The whole prayer is translated into English and the content is analyzed below.

Can you imagine being a student on the Duke campus relaxing under a tree quietly studying in preparation for your next class and then the Muslim Call to Prayer comes booming out from the loud speakers in the Christian chapel bell tower and every thought is literally driven from your mind. Is there any way that any non-Muslim would look upon that experience as a positive promotion of ‘religious pluralism’ since every Friday you would be forced to endure it whether you like it or not?

Can you also imagine the school administrators allowing Christian prayers and scripture readings to be broadcast over the same loud speakers in order to promote real pluralism and religious freedom?  Not at a time when Christian student groups are getting kicked off campus all across America. Fortunately Duke still allows Christian student groups which are actually lead by real Christians.

Nevertheless, recently Duke University has not done a very good job of promoting religious pluralism when it comes to conservative Christian values. Chick-Fil-A has been removed from campus because of the Christian views of their owner, and Pro-life events have recently been canceled. Meanwhile, Palestinian statehood and rights have been promoted while the state of Israel has been slandered during past events sponsored at the school. So pluralism may not apply when it comes to conservative Christianity and for supporters of the Jewish state of Israel. This is particularly surprising since the school started out as a Christian institution and still maintains a loose affiliation with the United Methodist Church.

The Muslim Call to Prayer- Text and Meaning

Call to Prayer ‘Adnan’

4x   Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest

2x   I bear witness that there is no God but Allah

2x   I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

2x   Hasten to worship (salat)

2x   Hasten to success

2x   Prayer is better than sleep (Inserted in Pre-Dawn prayer)

2x   Allah is greatest

1x   There is no God but Allah


The recital of the prayer itself is an affirmation of Islamic religious domination and  major theological beliefs:

Allah is the greatest” and “There is no God but Allah” are direct statements against all other religions and gods.

There is no God but Allah” is traditionally understood to be a direct statement against the Christian understanding of a triune God.

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” is understood to be a reference supporting Muhammad as the penultimate prophet along with his teachings and the Quran over all other prophets, Like Moses of the Jews and Jesus of the Christians, and writings of the ‘book’ (Bible) which they believe have been distorted.

In final analysis, if the Muslim Call to Prayer was broadcast over loud speakers on campus it would promote the exact opposite of the ‘religious pluralism’ that the Duke administrators say they trying to accomplish. The message of the prayer itself literally proclaims that all religions are false except Islam.              *Top

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