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Passion Islam I July 2008 ORLD NEWSW I 15
Duke University
hires its first
Muslim chaplain
In a sign of the changing Duke has atleast 300
makeup of its students, Duke undergraduate and graduate
University has hired its first students who follow Islam as
imam, or Muslim religious their religion. The university
leader, becoming one of only has no precise numbers
a handful of universities in the because students are not
United States that have full- required to disclose their faith.
time Muslim clergy. About 50 of those students are
Abdullah Antepli, a native actively involved in its Muslim
of Turkey who is completing Student Association. Duke
his doctoral work at Hartford also has dozens of Muslims
Seminary in Hartford, Conn., working for the university in
will become the Muslim imam various capacities.
and chaplain on campus, Antepli’s role will be to
beginning July 1. lead them in Friday ‘’Juma’’
‘’It’s time for leading Waheed was invited to remain
Antepli will join a roster prayers, teach the Quran,
institutions in the West to active on campus.
of at least 20 faith leaders, lead discussion groups and
step up and actively seek to The trend to add Muslim
including a rabbi, a Roman offer pastoral care to students
shape the next generation of leaders to serve students has
Catholic priest and a dozen who want it. He will also teach
global Muslim leaders,’’ said gained momentum in recent
Protestant ministers who introductory classes on Islam
the Rev. Sam Wells, the dean years. Georgetown University
attend to the spiritual needs at the Duke Divinity School,
of the chapel at Duke. ‘’It’s in Washington, D.C., is among
of Duke’s increasingly diverse which is paying half his
up to institutions like Duke to the first in the nation to hire an
student body. salary.
take the initiative, with all the full-time imam. Ivy League
‘’Here’s a university ‘’It’s an important moment for
values Duke stands for.’’ schools, including Princeton
seeing a growing need for a a university that has historic
For the past nine years, and Yale, are now hiring full-
qualified Muslim chaplain and Methodist roots in the South,’’
Muslim students on campus time imams.
graciously responding to the said Tom Tweed, formerly a
have had the benefit of ‘’Duke is reaching beyond
need,’’ Antepli said. ‘’It’s really professor of religious studies
a volunteer imam, Abdul mere toleration of diversity and
admirable. They could easily at the University of North
hafeez-Waheed, a resident is taking an extra step toward
have ignored it or asked the Carolina-Chapel Hill, and now
of Durham. But the university engagement,’’ said Michael
Muslim community to pay for at the University of Texas at
wanted a scholar, too, and Goldman, rabbi for Jewish life
it.’’ Austin.
conducted a national search. at Duke.
Muslim ‘chaplains’ to
minister Australian
Defence Force troops
The Australian Defence Force more than 300 members
is poised to engage Muslim have voluntarily reported
leaders for the first time to help non-Christian faiths that need
manage its chaplaincy services to be better catered for: 142
and care for the mental health Buddhists, 79 Hindus, 67
of its troops. Muslims and 17 Sikhs.
An internal review of chaplaincy “Defence accepts the
services has recommended significance of religious faith in
greater involvement of non- people’s lives and upholds the
Christian faiths to reinforce the freedom of religious practice,”
doctrine of freedom of religious the spokesman said.
practice. “Therefore, ADF members are
While a majority of ADF encouraged to practise their
members - 57 per cent in total religious beliefs according to
- identify themselves as being freedom of choice. This is met
groups.” Committee to the Services
Christian, Defence does not to a significant extent by the
In December 2004, a new (RACS) and the creation of
force members to declare provision of permanent and
relationship was struck an Affiliated Representatives
their religious faith or specify reserve uniformed chaplains,
between the Chief of the Committee (ARC).
whether they are practising or and is supported by access
Defence Force and Heads of The review has now
non-practising. to local civilian resources,
Churches Representatives recommended Buddhist, Hindi
However, a Defence as available, to meet the
which resulted in a change and Muslim representatives
spokesman has confirmed requirements of different faith
to the Religious Advisory be appointed to the ARC.
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