Duke cancels call to prayer due to “credible threats”

Earlier this week, Duke announced that they would begin broadcasting an Islamic call to prayer from the bell tower on Fridays. When I read about this I thought: “well, that’s no big deal” and didn’t think it was worth any comment, figuring it was a complete non-story.

Boy, I was wrong.

Groups such as Christian Evangelicals and Fox News had a field day with this one, and a social media shitstorm ensued. I figured Duke would ignore the trolls and stick to the plan, since this was a no-win scenario from a PR perspective.

Again, I was wrong.

Last night they pulled the plug and canceled the call to prayer. The announcement initially lacked specific details, but over night it has come to light that, according to The Washington Post:

Omid Safi, director of Duke’s Islamic Studies Center, said Thursday evening that the call to prayer was scaled back because of “a number of credible threats against Muslim students, faculty and staff.” The school, he said “is treating this as a criminal matter” and that the threats are “external.”

It’s fascinating to watch this story unfold. There’s a lot of commentary from Duke students on the Chronicle article, and the “hottest” post currently on the anonymous, region-specific social network Yik Yak currently is:

Muslim students have been urged not to identify themselves on campus tomorrow b/c of threats. Please, guys, let’s go to the chapel at 1pm and support them. Keep our classmates safe

Now before you rush to try Yik Yak yourself, thinking that it’s the place to go for discussion of Duke’s handling of complex issues regarding faith and terrorism, you should be advised that the second hottest post on Yik Yak is:

high guy: What if water has the craziest taste ever but we just can’t taste because we’re water ourselves

Wise words, high guy, wise words. Cause if you stop wondering whether water has the craziest taste ever, you let the terrorists win.

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