Duke University Will Broadcast Islamic Prayer Calls Across Campus

As part of a bid to promote religious pluralism on campus, students at Duke University will be hearing something new on Friday afternoons: An Islamic prayer call.

The Islamic call to prayer, known as the adhan or azan, is typically issued five times a day from the minarets of a mosque. Starting this Friday, the chant will be broadcast weekly from the 200-foot-tall Duke Chapel bell tower at 1 p.m. in order to summon campus Muslims for their Friday afternoon congregational prayer, known as the jummah.

The chant lasts approximately three minutes and will be amplified, according to Duke Today. Like Muslims themselves, amplified adhan are relatively uncommon in most of the U.S., and in places where the practice has been implemented, it has sometimes caused friction with the local community.

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life, told Duke Today. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

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Imam Adeel Zeb, the school’s chaplain for Duke Muslims, praised the school for its “intentionality towards religious and cultural diversity.” Zeb also told The Huffington Post that he hopes the practice will soon be adopted at other schools.

“This is going to be one of the first — if not the first — school to [do this] on a weekly basis. It can easily be done at other private schools, with a chapel, and it would be most welcome, and build interfaith bridges and bridges of common ground, humanity, love and peace with student bodies and administrations.”

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