A school in western Germany is being criticized for sending a letter to its teachers asking to “report” any Muslim students caught praying during school.
The school, Gymnasium Johannes Rau is in the city of Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia. According to RT, a newspaper in the area, Der Westen, was the first to report on the incident which has sparked much debate on social media.
The letter to teacher reads, in part:
“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.”
RT reports the staff was asked to give students a “friendly reminder” that it is not permitted on school grounds, and to report any student that doesn’t comply.
The state capital of Düsseldorf, Der Westen, confirmed that the letter was sent out, stating, “The ban on praying in a provocative manner in public school spaces is supposed to encourage peaceful coexistence and assure school peace.”
According to RT, local district council Dagmar Gross told Deutsche Welle that the letter was sent out because “several teachers and students felt themselves under pressure due to the behavior of the classmates.”
Social media seems to be divided on the issue.
running wild, shouting, chasing, bullying = acceptable
getting clean, centering themselves, finding calm = unacceptable
— Yosra (@AfterHardship) March 2, 2017
“I see this as an abuse of power of the director, who has his own racist attitudes towards Muslims,” one person wrote, RT reports.
@MailOnline how nasty of Germany they allow them in and wont let them pray hope they all claim compensation
— MikeC (@mikethecraigy) March 2, 2017
On the other side, some people felt the decision was fair and necessary.
“[Those] Who wanna pray, please privately or in church / mosque whatever…” one person wrote.
“Very good! Schools should be neutral in every way. Teaching on religion is okay, but not practice [of religion].”
“This is a school and not a mosque or a missionary facility!” other comments said.
A right-wing alternative group, Alternative for Germany in Wuppertal was happy with the decision, saying it was an “interesting and, in our opinion, sensible initiative by the school management.”
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