Thousands Flock to Duke Chapel for Annual Pilgrimage


duke meccaBY BILLY N. FORCEY          JAN. 15, 2015

DURHAM – Thousands of faithful descended upon Durham this week for “Hajj South,” as the venerable Duke Chapel  begins chanting the adhan, the call to prayer, from the bell tower on Fridays. It will be chanted by Muslim students prior to the jummah prayer service that takes place in the chapel basement each Friday afternoon.

Hoteliers are at their breaking point and restaurants – ones with halel menus, anyway – are seeing their best profits in years.

Christy Lohr Sapp, the university’s associate dean for religious life, was excited about “the use of…a minaret [that] allows for the interreligious reimagining of a university icon.”

She further said that she was “not aware of any other church bell tower that is also used to announce the Muslim call to prayer,” an apparently astonishing fact. When asked if she was aware of any mosques being used for Jewish or Christian services, Sapp answered, “No, why?”

Sapp wrote in the News & Observer recently “If…students do not have earbuds in, they might catch a strain of the Arabic proclamation, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ which means ‘God is great!’ And, if they are so inclined, they might say a quick prayer under the breath or even pause for a moment’s reflection.”

Nicholas Sabo, an Israeli student studying medicine at Duke, said, “Yeah, I’m all for religious tolerance and ‘interreligious reimagining’ and all that bullsh*t, but if I hear someone yell ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I hope no one’s offended when instead of praying I hit the f**king ground.”

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