Jan 22 2015
Muslim students upset at the vitriolic backlash against Duke University’s decision to blast the Muslim Call to Prayer from amplifiers every Friday
It was a national and international backlash so angry and so widespread that Duke was forced to quickly rescind its idiotic decision…or lose a large percentage of its most generous donations, no doubt.
Duke Chronicle Last week, Duke decided to broadcast the weekly Muslim call-to-prayer—known as the adhan—from the Chapel bell tower—but reversed its decision after security threats and backlash from some conservative leaders and donors. The call to prayer was instead held on the Chapel quadrangle on Friday.
“When the initiative was presented to MSA (Terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood front group MSA – Muslim Students Association), I thought it was amazing,” senior Safaa al-Saeedi, a member of MSA’s executive board, said. “It embodied to me what it means for religions to coexist—to have the message of one to be delivered through the embodiment of the other.” (Something that would never ever happen in the Muslim world where churches are being burned down and Christians slaughtered on a daily basis)
Initially, members of MSA were excited about the adhan, but many realized that they would likely face backlash. “There were mixed feelings because some of us were worried about what would happen,” said freshman Noor Tasnim, a member of MSA. “We knew there would be opposition, but some people were really excited. Never did we expect for it to blow up to the point that it was international news.”
And on social media, there were some ‘racist’ (What ‘race’ is Islam?) and derogatory comments. “I look at people and wonder which one of you said that comment,” al-Saeedi said. “You all have these smiles on your faces, but which one of you is harboring this intolerance?” (Tolerating the most intolerable so-called religion on earth is national suicidal)
As a native of Yemen, al-Saeedi had never faced an experience like this before. “Now, I walk around campus more conscious of my Muslim identity than ever,” al-Saeedi said. “The campus feels different to me now.” (Good, go back to Yemen)
Following the reversal of the decision, Duke Student Government President Lavanya Sunder, a junior, issued a public statement in which she addressed the “unprecedented amount of hate messages and threats” that the University received following the initial announcement.
“I was certainly disappointed by the reaction of people outside of the Duke community who spoke against Duke for its initial decision to broadcast the adhan from the Chapel,” Sunder wrote in an email to The Chronicle Wednesday. “I certainly wasn’t expecting the level of hate and anger that Duke received after announcing the initial decision.”
“Like the rest of the world, we are facing a challenge in knowing how to respond to the presence of multiple ethnic and religious communities in spaces where one tradition [has or had] been historically dominant. These are issues that the whole global community is debating, so it shouldn’t surprise us that we at Duke debate them too,” Safi wrote in an email Wednesday.
“We are today simultaneously an international university of students and scholars from all over the world, and a university with a proud Methodist tradition. Those two realities, and they are both realities, need not clash, but do call for some measure of grace in negotiating.”
“I can’t think of another university that has allocated as many resources to supporting Muslim Life as Duke has over the last decade. It reminds us that universities are part of the larger fabric of American life, and susceptible to all the tensions and dramas that affect all of us. And that the march towards progress and inclusion is never smooth, never easy and never linear, but one that has to be perpetually pursued,” he wrote.