German Court Supports School's Muslim Prayer Ban

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By Benge Nsenduluka , CP Reporter
December 27, 2011|6:27 pm

A German court has ruled in favor of a school that banned a Muslim student from praying publicly.

Yunus Mitschele, a student at Diesterweg Gymnasium in Berlin, argued that the school's ban violated his religious freedoms, but ultimately lost his two-year battle in court.

The 18-year-old devout Muslim was horrified after he and a group of friends were condemned for gathering in a school corridor to pray, according to aljazeera.com.

Mitschele and his family were contacted in 2007 by school officials the following day, and told that prayer would not be tolerated.

Initially the courts ruled in his favor, and granted him the right to religious freedom and public prayer but in 2009 this decision was overturned.

The courts changed its initial ruling stating that a student “is not entitled to perform prayer during school outside of class when this can disrupt the running of the school.”

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Mitschele attempted to explain that Islamic prayer times are heavily dependent on sunrise and sunset, and therefore he was forced to pray during the day in the winter.

The school did not oblige, countering that due to high ethnic diversity rates at the school such a public display of prayer could have negative social impact among students.

School officials feared that allowing Mitschele to pray would promote segregation and student separatism.

Ultimately the courts agreed, but did not enforce a nationwide ban on all Muslim students praying.

According to BBC, Chief Justice Werner Neumann ruled that such cases be dealt with individual, although the same ruling imposed on Mitschele could be applied to cases where a school deems it necessary "to restrict religious freedom in order to keep the peace at the school."

Sources allege that the school offered Mitschele a private place to pray, although this remains unconfirmed.

 

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