Duke Muslim Chaplain Holds Talks with Afghan Religious Leaders

Antepli notes radicalization of leaders following decades of war

The governor of Afghanistan’s Wardak Province, left, and a local religious leader, right, honored Duke’s Muslim Chaplain Abdullah Antepli with a traditional robe after meeting in the province, which is known as the summer capital of the Taliban.

Antepli, Duke University's Muslim chaplain, has returned to campus following a 10-day
visit to Afghanistan that he described as both intense and depressing.

by an Afghan think tank, Antepli met with Muslim leaders at religious schools
and other institutions in the capital city Kabul and surrounding areas. He found
many of them skeptical of his own advocacy of tolerance among faith groups,
leading to discussions that often stretched into hours.

"To be honest, I was discouraged by
how radical many of them have become during these long years of war," he said.

a Turkish scholar who became Duke's first Muslim chaplain in 2008, also took
time in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. troops.

(Wednesday), Antepli is scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., to appear at the Pentagon in
a symbolic Iftar dinner, the evening ceremony at which Muslims break their fast
during the month of Ramadan. He plans to return to the nation's capital on Aug.
25 for another Iftar meal, at the Israeli Embassy, along with other Muslim
scholars and leaders. The visit will be brief, he said, since he plans to stay
in Durham and focus on welcoming Muslim students and others back to campus for
the new school year.