This year has been full of surprises, and it is only the first weekend of February. In the past few weeks I’ve heard and see news stories that asst their core need to be questioned as to why they happened and not just the how:
Duke University allowing for a Muslim call to prayer over loud speakers being the first. Why was this not allowed but accepted? If I had petitioned the student body, the provost, or even the president with a call to evangelism or repentance would I have been given the mic for more than 10 seconds? This is a private school and is constantly ranked in the top 25 nationally for research and medicine. But what strikes me as is is that a school founded as a religious institution in the name of Christ would, so willingly, walk away from His word in the name of inclusion and tolerance. A school founded in NC as a place for those of the Quaker and Methodist faith to come together and study has lost its faith. It no longer defends the faith of Christ but instead has become a center for research and study, navel gazing at it finest.
However, do to public outcry, mostly from off-campus pundits, the school acquiesced and is allowing the call to prayer from the grounds outside of the Campus Chapel instead of from the Chapel steeple. It has been a total of four Fridays since the first call has happened and the campus remains non-violent. There is no religious rioting taking place in the streets of Durham but instead a question of who the church is in today’s world. Is religious plurality the answer to growing conversion to Islam This is in stark contrast to the actions of extremist in Paris only days before, Jan. 16, the first calls to prayer at Duke. The world that the terrorist associated with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Heram, etc. all wish upon the rest of us is one of violence, subjugation, and religious intolerance. Yet, does this exclusively come for a place of religious ignorance, poverty, and social injustice or is the violence laced throughout the thought of what a culture truly means. President Obama seems to think the latter.
In comments made at the National Prayer Breakfast, a non-secular event created durign the Eisenhower Administration to off set Soviet Atheism with American Christianity, President Obama challenged the view of ISIS and how we as a country put their actions into context. In fact almost similar comments were made in an OpEd piece by Kareem Abdul-Jabar almost four weeks ago following the events at Charlie Hebdo. In both cases, the argument that violence is violence and that if it is done in the name of a religion, in this case radical Islam, its religious underpinnings should be largely ignored and only the context of violence should be shown. A myopic lensing affect to events so that the religious and zealous fervor against Islam in the West is more closely pushed against terrorism and not Islam as a whole.