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By Yonat Shimron

DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) In the end, the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast from a small black speaker perched on the steps of the Duke Chapel Friday (Jan. 16), as hundreds of students, some Muslim but mostly non-Muslim, gathered in solidarity for the right of all students to pray publicly.

The gathering, replete with signs reading “Let us worship together,” and “Please pray here,” was quiet and peaceful, and emerged spontaneously after Duke University officials on Thursday abruptly reversed their decision to broadcast the Muslim “adhan,” or call to prayer, from the bell tower atop its iconic chapel.

The plan was to recite a moderately amplified call to prayer with the words “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great,” from the 210-foot tower for about three minutes each Friday. [Read more…]