A German high school has banned Muslim students from praying in public, saying it’s provocative for other students.
The school in Wuppertal in western Germany recently instructed teachers to report any cases of Muslim students praying on school property. The note added that the ban should be explained to students in a “friendly” manner, local newspaper Der Westen reports.
“In recent weeks it has been increasingly observed that Muslim pupils in the school building are praying, clearly visible to others, signaled by ritual washings in the toilets, the rolling out of prayer mats, and taking up certain postures,” the note to teachers reads. “This is not permitted.”
Then ban sparked a debate over whether it breaches freedom of religion. The local authorities stand by the school’s decision “since several teachers and students felt themselves under pressure due to the behavior of the classmates.”
“The ban on praying in a ‘provocative way’ in the school is intended to promote peaceful coexistence and ensure the school peace,” Dagmar Gross, a spokeswoman for the local district council, told Deutsche Welle.
A Muslim student in Berlin took his high school to court in 2011 after being banned from praying in public on Fridays. The court rejected the complaint, ruling it would disrupt the school peace.
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