German school bans Muslim students from “provocative prayers”

A school in west Germany has banned Muslim students from using prayer mats and making ritual ablution in restrooms saying it is “provocative” to other students. 

The Gymnasium Johannes Rau, in the city of Wuppertal in west Germany, sent a letter to members of staff last month saying Muslim students had been using prayer rugs and making wudu (ablution before prayer) in the toilets, and that they should receive a “friendly reminder” that it is not allowed on school premises.

After strong criticism when the letter was posted last week on Facebook, local authorities described the wording as “unfortunate” and the school had only meant to bring the relevant students in to discuss a solution to allow their prayer, the Bild newspaper reported on Thursday.

Municipal authorities added that the school was legally allowed to prevent people “praying in a provocative manner.”

According to Deutsche Welle, the letter stated: “In recent weeks it has been increasingly observed that Muslim pupils in the school building are praying, clearly visible to others, signalled by ritual washings in the toilets, the rolling out of prayer mats, and taking up certain postures. This is not permitted.”

A spokeswoman for the local district council told DW: “The ban on praying in a ‘provocative way’ in the school is intended to promote peaceful coexistence and ensure the school peace.”

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