(CT) The Controversy at Duke–Which Christian Spaces Are Off-Limits to Muslim Worship?

However, the dean of Duke Divinity School, Richard Hays, raised concerns about the use of the chapel for the Muslim call to prayer if it’s seen as a Christian church (given its history and iconography), rather than a neutral space on campus.

“There are serious questions…about the wisdom and propriety of allowing Duke chapel to be used for this purpose,” he said in a statement. “Despite some common beliefs and traditions, Christianity and Islam stand in significant theological tension with one another.”

Durham resident and author Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove wrote that while he was “glad Duke Chapel hosts a vibrant Christian congregation,” he did not see the space as holy ground.

“The Dukes are buried in the crypt, not saints. Robert E. Lee’s statue is in the entryway. Muslim prayers would not desecrate ground marked by the blood of Christian martyrs,” he wrote. “It would, instead, be an act of hospitality to hallow a messy place.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Education, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults

8 comments on “(CT) The Controversy at Duke–Which Christian Spaces Are Off-Limits to Muslim Worship?

  1. Ralph says:

    Perhaps this could be revisited after the Muslims allow Christian services to be held at Hagia Sophia or the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Or, when Christians can worship in Saudi Arabia.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    Or they allow Jews to visit the site of the Temple (basically where the Dome of the Rock stands) on the Temple Mount.

  3. Terry Tee says:

    Hmmm … in response to the guys above:

    …. Hagia Sophia is now essentially a museum, neither a mosque nor a basilica, in keeping with Kemal Ataturk’s vision of Turkey as a secular republic.

    … Jews can (and do) visit the Dome of the Rock; the attempt to exclude them is the decision of both Chief Rabbinate’s of Israel (Ashkenazy and Sephardic) on the grounds that visitors may be walking over the Holy of Holies – this is explained on notice boards outside. The Dome of the Rock was damaged by fire in 1969. The arsonist, Denis Rohan, was an Australian Christian who claimed that he was the emissary of the Lord and was trying to hasten the Second Coming by destroying the Dome of the Rock so that the Temple could be rebuilt there. He was adjudged to be mentally ill.

  4. Jeff Walton says:

    Just to clarify, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque are two separate structures on the Temple Mount. The first is a shrine, the second is a mosque.

  5. sophy0075 says:

    Perhaps this could be addressed after Saudi Arabia permits open Christian worship within its borders.

  6. Ad Orientem says:

    This should not be a complicated matter. The basic question is, is the chapel a “Christian” place of worship, or is it inter-religious? If the latter, then Muslims cannot be excluded from its use. If the former then they can, and arguably should be.

    On a side note; a campus as large and presumably diverse as Duke should have some permanent facility for non-Christian worship. If none currently exists and I were the Dean, fixing that would be a front burner issue for me.

  7. Adam 12 says:

    I am interested in the issue of sacrilege and what activities would constitute a sacrilege of a Christian chapel at a college. Does Anglicanism have a sense of this, or did it used to?

  8. Ad Orientem says:

    [blockquote]Does Anglicanism have a sense of this, or did it used to? [/blockquote]

    The answer, at least in the United States, is probably no and maybe respectively. But what went on a hundred years ago is likely irrelevant. Evidence would suggest that TEO in no way considers itself bound by the faith or discipline of their forebears.