(CNSNews.com) – Within 24 hours of Rev. Franklin Graham calling on Duke University to end its policy allowing a Muslim Call to Prayer from the bell tower of the campus chapel, the school did just that, saying it was “committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant” environment but that the Muslim prayer “effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”
“I am glad to hear that Duke University reversed its decision to allow the Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its chapel bell towers,” said Rev. Graham on his Facebook page today. “They made the right decision.”
In an interview with WRAL.com in Durham, N.C. yesterday, Rev. Graham said, “No one is saying they can’t worship their God,” but “you’re taking that bell tower, and you’re turning it into a Muslim minaret. I think it’s a slap at the Christian faith.”
Duke University are “the ones who owe the apology to Christian students and the ones who donated money for the chapel,” he said.
In a statement released on Jan. 15, Duke’s vice president for public affairs and government relations, Michael Schoenfeld, said, “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.”
The chapel's associate dean for religious life, Christy Lohr Sapp, had defended the new policy as an advance for "religious pluralism." In a commentary published yesterday, she also said, "[A]t Duke university, the Muslim community represents a strikingly different face of Islam than is seen on the nightly news: one that is peaceful and prayerful." Lohr Sapp also noted, "With the recent attacks in Paris and Pakistan and renewed conflict in Nigeria, there is much negative press focused on parts of the Muslim world."
Although the new policy is not going forward, the Muslim students on campus, reportedly 700 out of 15,000, can still follow a policy long-in-place that allows them to make the call to prayer on the quad outside the chapel, and they can use a room inside the chapel for prayers.
Duke University, a private college, was founded by Methodists and Quakers in 1838. The university’s insignia includes the Christian cross and the Latin motto, Eruditio et Religio, which means “learning and faith.”
The proposed policy that was cancelled would have allowed students with the Muslim Student Association to broadcast the 3-minute-long Call to Prayer from the chapel bell tower using some amount of amplification.
Commenting on the policy on Facebook on Jan. 14, Rev. Graham said, “The Muslim call to prayer that has been approved to go out across the campus of Duke University every Friday afternoon for three minutes includes ‘Allahu Akbar’—the words that the terrorists shouted at the onset of last week’s massacre in Paris. It includes the proclamation that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
“Will evangelical Christians be allowed the same three minutes weekly to broadcast the message across campus that God Almighty of the Bible sent His Son Jesus Christ to offer forgiveness of sins and salvation to all who will repent, believe, and call on His Name?” said the reverend. “Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6).”
Rev. Graham, son of world renowned evangelical pastor Billy Graham, is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA), which is based in Charlotte, N.C. Franklin Graham and his wife and family live in Boone, N.C.