Even though University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is receiving flak for allowing the Muslim call to prayer or azan to take place on campus earlier this year, an official clarified that it was a one-time event organized by students, who were in-charge of a weekend conference. UCLA spokesperson Phil Hampton issued a statement at the end of January after several news outlets reported the incident and criticized it.
Here is a video of the incident, which was posted on Youtube on January 17:
Hampton clarified that the Muslim call to prayer had been organized by a group of students, who also happen to be members of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), during a weekend conference.
“The call to prayer was played over a portable device in a campus quad during a conference last weekend hosted by the Muslim Student Association, one of nearly 1,000 registered student groups on campus,” Hampton said. “While UCLA respects freedom of religion and assembly and values the diversity of students’ beliefs, a public call to prayer is not a regularly scheduled occurrence at UCLA.”
The yearly MSA West Conference was organized from January 16 to 18 at UCLA this year and it addressed the theme ‘Rooted In, Rise Up, Solidarity Through Stories.’ A video, that was used to promote the conference shows students holding up placards with messages like Piety, Equality, Service,
Against Racism, Against Islamophobia, Divest and Diversity.
“In his final sermon, the Prophet Muhammad addressed issues concerning the sanctity of life, equality of all races, women’s rights and freedom to all,” says the video message.
Citing the prophet, the video goes on to explain how an Arab is in no way superior than a non-Arab and vice versa. In keeping with the theme, the video also explains how a white is in no way superior to a black and vice versa. In conclusion, the video states the only way in which one person can be superior to another is through piety and goodness.
Before UCLA issued the statement, several critics described the incident as an act of Islamic supremacy and urged secularists to voice their objections to UCLA President Janet Napolitano.
In a similar incident, Duke University called off plans for a weekly call to prayer for Muslims from its chapel bell tower, after donors, alumni and pastor Franklin Graham protested against the proposition in mid-January.
Photo Credits: Raising California Together