Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

 Duke copy

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

by Todd Starnes

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Duke University draws fire as it announces weekly Muslim call to prayer

Starting this Friday, Duke University plans to have a regular Muslim call to prayer on campus. Most students support religious diversity, but off-campus critics are concerned by what it symbolizes.

Christian Science Monitor

As of Friday, residents of Durham, N.C., near the Duke University Chapel bell tower will now hear the tones of a male Muslim Students Association member chanting the Muslim “adhan” or “call to prayer” at 1 p.m. each week.

 “On campus among students and faculty the response has been overwhelmingly positive,“ says Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence in a phone interview.

And… unleash the ignorant haters! (I think this is great) — Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/imWV0M2BTK— Emily (@expatemily) January 14, 2015

“Those responding from the outside, particularly on social media like Twitter, have been mixed with some negativity that has begun to feed off of itself,” Mr. Lawrence adds.

I wonder how Duke or atheist would feel if Christians wanted to recite the lords prayer once a week?… http://t.co/J09Ojp5ScA— Bill LuMaye Show 850 (@BillLuMaye) January 14, 2015

Via @WRAL: Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/Vw97l0tjQc More capitulating. The sound of Satan. WHY?— A Mountain (@annie_amountain) January 14, 2015

The chant, which announces the start of the group’s jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m., lasts about three minutes and will be moderately amplified, according to a Duke University press release.

Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke says in a phone interview that the addition of the chant was in the works months prior to the militant Islamist attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and are in no way in response or politically motivated.

Muslim students at Duke are supported by the university through the Office of Student Affairs’ Muslim Life department, which hosts religious services, community service projects, and interfaith events. The Center for Muslim Life provides on-campus social and spiritual meeting spaces for students as well as opportunities for counseling and advising.

“This is not about politics,” Mr. Zeb says. “This is part of Duke’s mission to promote religious diversity on campus.”

Zeb adds that he “did not hesitate for a moment” or waver at all in the plan following the Paris attacks or after learning about negative feedback on Twitter.

“As always, I advise my students to respond to negativity by being very positive and loving in their character,” Zeb says. “It is a tradition and an honor to carry on the chant and call to prayer.”

“Duke is in the minority for having he call to prayer,” Zeb says. “I don’t know of many others doing it.”

He adds that the service is open to the public,

The words will be chanted in Arabic, then spoken in English by either male or female students over the public address system, according to Zeb who offers the following English translation of the Adhan:

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Come to prayer. Come to prayer.

Come to Success. Come to Success.

God is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.

There is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

Zeb says that he has spent the past week training seven male students in the proper intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation of the chant. The adhan is traditionally performed by males unless it is a call to an all-female gathering, in which case, Zeb says, a woman would call the adhan.

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity,” Zeb explains. “The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke’s intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity.”

“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 and a Christian, is quoted in a press release. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

Reprisals Feared as Charlie Hebdo Publishes New Muhammad Cartoon

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Charlie Hebdo Editors Explain New Cover

 

The editors of the satirical newspaper discussed the cover of the first issue after the attack on their offices, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad crying.

 

PARIS — Muslim groups and scholars in France and elsewhere voiced concerns on Tuesday that a satirical newspaper’s first cover since the attack on its journalists last week could ignite dangerous new passions in a debate pitting free speech against religious doctrine.

One of Egypt’s highest Islamic authorities, Dar al-Ifta, warned that the new cartoon, depicting the Prophet Muhammad, would exacerbate tensions between the secular West and observant Muslims. Death threats circulated online against the surviving staff members of the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

The offices of the newspaper were attacked last Wednesday in apparent retaliation for routinely publishing cartoons lampooning Muhammad. Some interpretations of Islamic law forbid images of the prophet.

Survivors of the attack had said they would proceed with their next issue and again depict Muhammad.

The cover of the new issue — already widely seen on the Internet — will be published on Wednesday in a print run of up to three million copies, compared with a typical print run of 60,000 copies. It shows Muhammad displaying the slogan that has become the symbol of resistance to Islamic militants: “Je Suis Charlie,” or, “I am Charlie.” He is shown weeping under a headline that reads: “All is forgiven.”

Muslim organizations in France issued a joint statement on Tuesday expressing concern about the “numerous anti-Muslim acts observed these days,” and calling on the authorities to guarantee the security of mosques.

The statement on Tuesday also commented on the new Charlie Hebdo cover, urging French Muslims to “remain calm and avoid emotive or incongruous reactions incompatible with dignity,” while “respecting freedom of opinion.”

In Egypt, Dar al-Ifta, which issues religious edicts, called on the French government to “announce their rejection of this racist act that attempts to raise religious strife and sectarianism, and deepen hatred.”

The blunt admonition, from a pillar of the mainstream Sunni Muslim establishment in the Arab world’s most populous country, recalled the pronouncements of Egyptian clerics in 2006 when cartoons depicting Muhammad were published in European newspapers, prompting a massive outpouring of protest — some of it violent — in many parts of he Muslim

Islamophobia Is a Myth

Islamophobia Is a Myth

Why do liberals fear the working class and ignore anti-Semitic murder? Because they are bigots.

The British press has never seemed as out of touch as it is today. All our broadsheet papers are packed with pleas to the people of France, and other European populations, not to turn into Muslim-killing nutjobs in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The Guardian frets over “Islamophobes seizing this atrocity to advance their hatred.” The Financial Times is in a spin about “Islamophobic extremists” using the massacre to “[challenge] the tolerance on which Europe has built its peace.” One British hack says we should all “fear the coming Islamophobic backlash.” And what actually happened in France as these dead-tree pieces about a possible Islamophobic backlash made their appearance? Jews were assaulted. And killed. “Don’t attack Muslims,” lectures the press as Jews are attacked.

Across Europe, among the right-thinking sections of society, among the political classes, the response to the massacre of the cartoonists and satirists has been the same: to panic about how Them, the native masses, especially the more right-wing sections of the French population, might respond to it. The blood on the floor of theCharlie Hebdo offices was still wet when brow-furrowed observers started saying: “Oh no, the Muslims! Will they be attacked?” It’s the same after every terrorist attack: from 9/11 to 7/7 in London to last year’s Sydney siege to Paris today: Liberals’ instant, almost Pavlovian response to Islamist terror attacks in the West is to worry about a violent uprising of the ill-educated against Muslims. The uprising never comes, but that doesn’t halt their fantasy fears. What’s it all about?

 The unreal, unhinged nature of this elite preemption of mass Muslim-bashing has been thrown into sharp relief by the foul events in Paris over the past few days. The massacre of journalists by Islamists was followed today by a violent hostage-taking in a kosher shop in Port de Vincennes by a gunman reported to be part of the same small cell of Islamic extremists from which the Kouachi brothers, who shot up Charlie Hebdo, sprung. Why invade a kosher shop? Well, it’s very likely there will be Jews in there, and if there’s one thing Islamists love more than executing those who insult their prophet, it’s attacking Jews. The kosher-shop siege and hostage situation is now over, and while the information coming out of France is sketchy, Reuters says four of the hostages — who may well have been Jews — are dead. So the gulf between the fears of he multicultural elite and the reality on the ground in France is colossal. “Leave Muslims alone,” they plead as the news wires report that four kosher shoppers have been killed. Many European observers seem far more exercised about the possibility of Islamophobic violence than they are by the reality of anti-Semitic violence.

It’s not surprising that there is such a gaping chasm between liberals’ hand-wringing over a potential violent and sweeping Islamophobic backlash and what is actually happening in France and elsewhere. Because the idea of Islamophobia has always been informed more by the swirling fantasies and panics of the political and media elites than by any real, measurable levels of hate or violence against Muslims. Yes, some dud grenades were thrown into the courtyard of a mosque in the French city of Le Mans after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, though mercifully they didn’t explode and no one was around to be injured. That is a foul act and the person or people who did it should be found and punished. But fears about widespread anti-Muslim violence, about the spread of toxic Islamophobic hate through the streets and in workplaces, are unfounded, because their driving force is the anti-natives, anti-pleb prejudices of the elites rather than any hard evidence of extreme hostility to Muslims.

Liberals’ angst about violent anti-Muslim uprisings always proves to be empty. So after the 7/7 Tube and bus attacks in London, there were wide and wild warnings of a violent backlash against the Muslims of Britain. Journalists predicted bloodshed. National Health Service workers were encouraged to keep their eyes peeled — ie. spy — for any signs of anti-Muslim agitation among their patients. But there was no spike in anti-Muslim crimes. According to Crown Prosecution Service crime figures for 2005–06, covering the months after 7/7, only 43 religiously aggravated crimes were prosecuted in that period, and only 18 of those crimes were against Muslims. “The fears of a [post-7/7] rise in offences appears to be unfounded,” the Director of Public Prosecutions later admitted.

After the Boston Marathon bombings there were loads of media panic about the“ignorance and prejudice [that arise] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack” and concern that Muslims in America would get it in the neck. But Muslims have not been assaulted en masse by stupid Americans in recent years, including in the wake of 9/11. According to federal crime stats, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in 2010, there were 160. In a country of 330 million people, this is exceptionally low. After the Lindt café siege in Sydney at the end of last year, there was once again heated fear on the pages of the broadsheets about dumb Aussies going crazy and attacking brown people. Nothing happened. No mob emerged. Muslims were not attacked.

Islamophobia is a myth. Sure, some folks in Europe and elsewhere no doubt dislike Muslims, just as other losers hate the Irish or blacks or women. But the idea that there is a climate of Islamophobia, a culture of hot-headed, violent-minded hatred for Muslims that could be awoken and unleashed by the next terror attack, is an invention. Islamophobia is a code word for mainstream European elites’ fear of their own populations, of their native hordes, whom they imagine to be unenlightened, prejudiced, easily led by the tabloid media, and given to outbursts of spite and violence. The thing that keeps the Islamophobia panic alive is not actual violence against Muslims but the right-on politicos’ ill-founded yet deeply held view of ordinary Europeans, especially those of a working-class variety, as racist and stupid. This is the terrible irony of the Islamophobia panic: The fearers of anti-Muslim violence claim to be challenging prejudice but actually they reveal their own prejudices, their distrust of and disdain for those who come from the other side of the tracks, read different newspapers, hold different beliefs, live different lives. They accuse stupid white communities of viewing Muslims as an indistinguishable mob who threaten the fabric of European society, which is exactly what they think of stupid white communities.

– Brendan O’Neill is editor of the London-based online magazine Spiked and a founder of Free Speech Now! Read his free-speech manifesto here.

Cops ignore Bratton, turn backs on de Blasio at officer’s funeral

Cops ignore Bratton, turn backs on de Blasio at officer’s funeral

Thousands of NYPD cops turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio on Sunday outside a Brooklyn funeral home as he eulogized a murdered NYPD officer inside.As de Blasio addressed the loved ones of Detective Wenjian Liu in the Aievoli Funeral Home in Bensonhurst, the sea of blue watching the funeral on huge TV screens outside showed their disgust for Hizzoner by turning around as he spoke.Cops have been furious with de Blasio mainly since the grand-jury rulings involving the deaths of Staten Island dad Eric Garner and Missouri teen Michael Brown, two unarmed black men who died during confrontations with white cops. Neither cop was criminally charged.The mayor said afterward that he worries about how his son, Dante, who is half-black, might be treated by police because of his race.The cops say de Blasio’s comment is just another instance in which he has added to the anti-cop sentiment in the city.Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos were sitting in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Dec. 20 when deranged, cop-hating killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley came up from behind to execute them. Brinsley committed suicide before cops could catch him.Officers first turned their backs to de Blasio when he visited the hospital where Ramos and Liu were treated. They then also turned turned their backs to him outside the church where Ramos’ funeral was held Dec. 27.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton asked officers not to repeat that silent protest at Liu’s funeral Sunday.

lCops from across the country joined the ceremony honoring Liu.

“All of our city is heart-broken today,” de Blasio told mourners. “All of this city is feeling the pain, and all of the city wants to lift up the Liu family and the Ramos family.”

Liu’s loved ones, many who traveled here from China, arrived for the service in a procession of eight black vans and two limos.

“Detective Wenjian Liu was a good man. He walked a path of courage, a path of sacrifice, a path of kindness,” de Blasio said. “This is who he was.”

US Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) said as he arrived for Liu’s funeral, “I’ve been critical of the mayor, [but] today is not the day for that [protest]. I understand why the police did what they did [at Ramos’s service]. I think the police have made their point. [But] that should be behind us now. I wouldn’t do it myself.”

Widow Pei Xia Chen reacts while clutching a photo of slain New York Police Department officer Wenjian Liu as his casket departs his funeral in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Pei Xia Chen cries while clutching a photo of her slain husband.

Two plainclothes cops, outside the funeral home, made no apologies for their back-turning protest.

“He [de Blasio] turned his back on us,” one officer said.

“I can’t stand even looking at him,” the other cop said. “He has no friends here.”

Liu is believed to be the first Chinese- American New York cop killed in the line of duty.

In addition to Sunday’s service, Liu’s loved ones were expected to hold private ceremonies with Buddhist and Chinese funeral traditions.

“To me, he is my soul mate,” Liu’s grieving widow, Pei Xia Chen, told mourners. “Wenjian is an incredible husband, son, co-worker and friend – my best friend. ”

Chen said policing was a passion of Liu’s.

“As the only son, the No. 1 son, he was extremely close [to] and respected his parents , of course,” she said. “One of this many passion was being a police officer. He took pride in the fact that he was NYPD.”

Chen was in tears throughout her address.

She finished by saying, “I thank you, my extended family, my family of blue.”

Liu will be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery.

The 32-year-old had been on the job for seven years. Liu emigrated from China 20 years ago and dreamed of being a police officer.

Liu had only been married for two months when he was killed.

Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory, CJ Sullivan, Frank Rosario and David K. L
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