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."
The first adhan, or call to prayer, had been scheduled to be broadcast on Jan. 16. University officials said, the Islamic chant, which includes the words "Allahu Akbar" would have been "moderately amplified" -- in both English and Arabic. more >>
Duke University has decided to cancel its Muslim call to prayer, which would have begun this Friday, Jan. 16, after receiving public backlash and a credible threat to students.
The call to prayer, known as an adhan, would have aired for three minutes every Friday, encouraging Muslim students to gather and attend a traditional prayer service in the chapel. However, the public reacted with strong emotion and slammed the university for allowing students to perform the adhan. Students will now gather on the quadrangle outside the chapel to hear the adhan in a quieter setting, then proceed to prayer.
"Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students," Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, told Duke Today. "However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect." more >>
The Obama administration announced late Thursday that over 400 troops will be deployed to the Middle East this spring to train and equip rebel forces that are fighting the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq.
As U.S.-led airstrikes continue to target Islamic State positions, the training program will be part of "Obama's multi-year plan to field local forces in Syria" to defeat the Islamic State, Reuters reports.
Along with the 400 troops, hundreds of U.S. support personnel will also be deployed to the region, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday. more >>
Officials in Afghanistan have confirmed that the Islamic State terrorist group is present and active in the country's southern region, flying its black flags, recruiting fighters and even fighting against forces from another radical Islamic extremist group, the Taliban.
The Times of London reports that sources within the Afghanistan government have confirmed the group's existence in the southern Helmand province. General Mahmood Khan, deputy commander of the Afghan army's 215 corps, said that numerous residents have attested that they've seen ISIS representatives actively recruiting fighters.
Khan also said that he was told by many of the residents that the ISIS recruitment operation in Afghanistan is run by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdul Rauf, who is actively offering prospective fighters decent wages if they fight for the caliph. more >>
Duke University has come under fire for making the decision air the Muslim call to prayer on Friday, beginning this week; Rev. Franklin Graham has come out against the school's decision.
"This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke's mission," Christy Lohr Sapp, Duke Chapel's associate dean for religious life, said in a statement to Duke Today. "It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation."
The Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan will air for three minutes at a "moderately amplified" level to announce the call to prayer, and an English translation will follow. The service will take place in the chapel basement every Friday at 1:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will perform the chant, which will be released from the chapel's bell tower. more >>
Pope Francis and Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II have separately said that while the terror attacks on France last week were wrong, it is not right for people to insult the faith of others. The sentiment has been echoed by Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who warned that his country will not tolerate drawings of Muhammad, such as the ones made by satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
"You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others," Francis told journalists when asked about the Charlie Hebdo situation on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
A terror attack last week on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris left 12 people dead, and 17 in total were killed in other attacks carried out by Islamic extremists. The French magazine was attacked because of its drawings of Muhammad, considered a prophet in Islam, Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen revealed when taking responsibility for organizing the attack. more >>