More than 100 faculty, staff, students and members of the Muslim community from Duke and the Triangle gathered Thursday for the official opening of a Muslim Life center at Duke.
For Duke's Muslim Chaplain Abdullah Antepli, the gray clapboard house at 406 Swift Ave. represents "one of the most happy, joyous moments of my life ... a dream come true."
Duke University law student Mazen Alhroob led the Islamic call to prayer, or adhan. Then, following a brief reading from the Koran, several Duke officials spoke to the crowd about the significance of the occasion.
Both President Richard Brodhead and Duke Chapel Dean Sam Wells said a strong Muslim community on campus was essential for bringing out the best of Duke.
"We are ambitious and we want to be the best we can be," Wells said. "We can't be the best without each other."
Fatemah Ahmad, a senior at Duke and co-president of the Muslim Students Association, expressed gratitude at the university's commitment to and support for the campus Muslim community. She and Antepli emphasized the center is open and welcoming to everyone.
"The easiest way to show you what we mean to do with this space is for you to come in and participate -- hang out, drink tea, read books, or study," she said. "The light is always on and a pot of tea is always brewing." (More)