German school bans Muslim students from using prayer mats

Published: March 3, 2017
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A high school in western Germany has prohibited Muslim students from using prayer mats and other religious rituals saying “the act is provocative to other students”.

The ban against Islamic prayers and anything related to the activity has ignited a debate on freedom of religion and religious practices in Germany.

The administration of Wuppertal school gave a notification to its staff last month to identify students offering the religious act in public using prayer mats. The directives came after a few teachers complained about students and their praying activity owing to which they felt pressured in the school premises.

As a Muslim woman, I support Angela Merkel’s ban on niqabs in Germany

“In the last few weeks, it has increasingly been observed that Muslim students are praying, quite visibly to others, indicated by ritual washing in the bathrooms, the rolling out of prayer rugs, and by the students putting their bodies in certain positions. That is not permitted,” the notification read.

A copy of the letter was also posted on social media, making people comment on the issue and sparking different reactions on it.

Following widespread criticism, the municipal authorities said the context of the letter was ‘unfortunate’ and the school management was just concerned about the other students being affected by the public praying.

The authorities also went on to justify the decision that the school management was allowed to stop pupils from “praying in a provocative manner”.

“Banning provocative praying in the school’s public space should promote peaceful coexistence and peace within the school,” the regional administration of the city said.

The banning of prayers in the school comes when Germany is reeling from the refugee crisis fueling anti-Muslim sentiments in the country. The country’s right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has long adopted an anti-Islam stance in their manifesto amid the crisis. The party termed the school’s decision “onteresting and “sensible” measure in one of their Facebook’s post recently.

The article originally appeared on Al Jazeera

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Reader Comments (11)

  • arif
    Mar 3, 2017 - 11:12AM

    You can dance publicly, drink, even kiss publicly, be nude and it is not provocative at all. While only praying is provocative…….What is the logic??Recommend

  • Mohammed Mirza
    Mar 3, 2017 - 11:55AM

    Ridiculous! Just saying their PrayersRecommend

  • MA
    Mar 3, 2017 - 12:22PM

    Ridiculous decisions Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Mar 3, 2017 - 12:28PM

    welcome move . prayers etc should be done privately in my house not in public places inconveniencing general folk . Recommend

  • rich
    Mar 3, 2017 - 12:37PM

    seems by above commets of arif and mirza they do not know what secularism is?

    u want to be traeted equal so christian country cannt force u to say christian prayers ect

    and they do do not bec then its not secular, but u want to pray in public how is it secular

    so niw the christian school;s shold make stary morning christian paryes again, start serbibg becan in schoolcanteens again which was all stopped bec of secularism

    and they have rights bec its christian schoolss christain money and christain countries

    then do not crib

    it will slowly start if muslim do not adjust with the countries culture they adobt Recommend

  • Milind
    Mar 3, 2017 - 12:37PM

    @arif – You cannot go to any country and question anybody’s culture. For them kissing, being nude might be paramount.. Don’t go if you don’t likeRecommend

  • Dr Dang
    Mar 3, 2017 - 1:59PM

    It all starts with the ‘Human Right’ to pray….then prayer rooms in public & govt. buildings, then taking over streets to pray on Fridays, then halal, then right to have multiple wives, then finally ‘we want shariah- Islam will rule the world.Recommend

  • RK Singh
    Mar 3, 2017 - 2:27PM

    @arif:

    their country. Their rules. why do you go there begging ?Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    Mar 3, 2017 - 2:27PM

    @arif:
    Please ask them to go to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, there their culture actually matches.Recommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    Mar 3, 2017 - 2:38PM

    Schools are not a place for religious showmanship. Everybody is the same in a school.Recommend

  • fahim
    Mar 3, 2017 - 3:27PM

    Allah is great, one can pray in heart in such offensive situation while agitating Recommend

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