A moderately prestigious university in Germany has instituted a religious code of conduct in response to complaints about Muslim students praying noisily in the library and flooding campus bathrooms with water as they ritually cleanse their feet.
The University of Hamburg is the site of the new set of religion-related rules, reports Times Higher Education, a London-based education news website.
The 42,890-student university is the first in Germany to institute such a code.
The University of Hamburg’s executive board determined that the religious code of conduct is necessary after receiving numerous complaints.
In addition to the bathroom flooding and the loud library praying, people described as “external Salafists” have demanded that female Muslim students wear veils on campus, according to school president Dieter Lenzen.
“To date, there have been no complaints about Buddhist students, just a few about Christian students, but a great many about Muslim students,” Lenzen also said, according to Times Higher Education.
Muslim students have been “disturbing university life,” Lenzen said.
The University of Hamburg’s new religious code of conduct — released in October — forbids students from praying loudly anywhere on campus. However, “quiet prayer may be acceptable in the library.”
The code also outlaws “discrimination against male or female visitors by dividing the room according to sex/gender” in the school’s Room of Contemplation, an area reserved for religious observance.
Prior to the implementation of the new code, and without permission from school officials, some Muslim students at the University of Hamburg had installed a curtain separating men and women for prayers in the Room of Contemplation. (RELATED: Taxpayer-Funded Big Ten University Gets Sex-Segregated Muslim Prayer Rooms)
Another part of the religious code of conduct formally allows campus restaurants to ignore requests for food items “in line with religious dietary guidelines and restrictions.”
Still another code section states that students cannot request time off for religious festivals and holidays. Students must “bear the consequences” if professors don’t want to make special accommodations.
“Neither course schedules nor other university events are organized in accordance with religious requirements,” the code observes.
The code takes no position on full veils, partial veils or any other kind of religious clothing. Such clothing “in the classroom is not in itself disruptive” “providing the self-evident demands of academic exchange and exams are not impacted.”
“The German Constitution does not provide any legal basis for preventing specific religious practices, unless these disrupt the purpose of the respective establishment,” Lenzen, the University of Hamburg president, told Times Higher Education.
The University of Hamburg, founded in 1919, is ranked #223 in the QS World University Rankings, a few notches behind the University of Notre Dame.
In the late 1990s, the German city of Hamburg was home to a group of radical Islamists — the Hamburg cell — which included Mohamed Atta and several other September 11 terrorists.
Follow Eric on Twitter. Like Eric on Facebook. Send story tips to email@example.com.