How Duke University Was Pressured Into Bigotry Against Islam And Its 700 Muslim Students

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Duke University has over 700 Muslim students from all over the world. They represent, in Duke’s own words, ” a strikingly different face of Islam than is seen on the nightly news: one that is peaceful and prayerful.” These students pay Duke’s premium tuition costs and excel in every way.

So, when, in the wake of the brutal murders in France of Charlie Hedbo journalists at the hands of so-called Muslim terrorists, Duke administrators thought it would be wise for all religious students to show solidarity with one another by allowing Muslim students to make creative use of the chapel on campus.

Muslim students and a campus imam already host their weekly gatherings on a lower level inside of the chapel and the plan was for a public call to prayer for Muslim students and staff to happen. Soon though, Christian conservatives began to express their outrage and demanded that Duke not allow Muslim students to use the chapel for a public call to prayer. According to the Associated Press:

The original plan drew the ire of evangelist Franklin Graham, who urged Duke alumni to withhold support because of violence against Christians he attributed to Muslims. Schoenfeld said emails and calls came from alumni and others in the community.”There was considerable traffic and conversation and even a little bit of confusion, both within the campus and certainly outside, about what Duke was doing,” Schoenfeld said. “The purposes and goals and even the facts had been so mischaracterized as to turn it into a divisive situation, not a unifying situation.”

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

The problem with what Franklin Graham is saying is obvious because he presumably knows that moderate Muslim Duke University students have nothing to do with any attacks against Christians. If it is true that rogue factions of a faith who act unjustly and terrorize others prohibits that entire faith from freely using Duke’s chapel to pray, then Christians should’ve been prohibited from using it from 1900-1970 as so-called Christian members of the KKK terrorized African Americans all over the American South.

Truthfully, though, religious people have always terrorized other people in the name of their faith and instances of modern-day Christians slaughtering and terrorizing people still exist around the world. Since Franklin Graham has little to do with those instances and since we all know it’s unlikely that the Christian students of Duke University have little to do with those attacks or with the KKK, they are then allowed to use the space without limit—as they should.

Both Duke University and the United States of America expressly support religious pluralism. However, when we begin selectively holding members of one faith accountable for every member of that faith, we must do this with all faiths.

You and I know that’ll never happen.

When Duke bowed to the pressure of Franklin Graham, it drifted into a subtle bigotry and pushed its Muslim students into a form of second-class citizenry in which they are now forced to use the grassy area outside of the chapel for prayer instead of the chapel itself. In may ways, this echoes the days in which African-American Christians, who actually proclaimed the same faith of white Christians, were forced to sit in church balconies and even prohibited from entering certain religious buildings.

It’s not right and Duke University has dropped the ball on this one.




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1 Response »


  1. How Duke University Was Pressured Into Bigotry Against Islam And Its 700 Muslim Students | Christians Anonymous

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