Letters to the Editor

Thomas Kelley: Duke’s lack of courage

Regarding the Jan. 16 news article “ Duke reverses on Muslim prayer”: Franklin Graham and his ilk are bullies, and Duke University lacks a spine.

Graham claims that permitting the Muslim call to prayer from Duke’s Chapel would be “wrong because it’s a different God.” Contrast that to the tolerance and respect shown by my West African Islamic friends who are fond of reminding me “there is only one God but many paths.”

Graham further characterizes followers of Islam as “raping, butchering, and beheading Christians.” Yet, in Rwanda, where I have spent time, Islamic imams risked death during that country’s genocide by offering asylum (often within the walls of mosques) to their Christian neighbors who were being systematically hunted and slaughtered by other Christians. Many of the mass killings during Rwanda’s genocide happened inside of churches, and many priests and nuns were complicit.

Is Christianity as a whole also a violent religion? Obviously not.

Duke’s decision to permit the prayer call was a symbolically important reminder that the vast majority of Muslims worldwide are peaceful and tolerant. Duke’s reversal shows that it lacks the institutional courage to stand up to bullying by narrow-minded extremists.

Thomas Kelley

Chapel Hill