One of the best things to happen to Duke during my time here was the arrival last fall of Abdullah Antepli, Duke’s first-ever Muslim Chaplain. For those of you keeping score, the only other American universities with a full-time Muslim chaplain are Princeton, Yale and Georgetown.
I was wary of writing this column, dreading the ignorant and hateful comments that consistently trail articles online on the subject of Islam. Yet what I’ve learned from Imam Abdullah is not to fear the comments section. One of the many requirements of his job is to respond to those who have questions or misconceptions about Islam, a task he faces intelligently and gracefully.
I arrange a meeting with Imam Abdullah, and he e-mails me back from his iPhone confirming the time and date. He is accessible and genuinely wants to get to know me. Sitting in his office in Grey, I catch a glimpse of his iCalender: His schedule for the week is packed with little green blocks indicating appointments and meetings. But he never rushes our meeting; instead, he asks me about myself, my religion major and my religious experiences on campus. (MORE)