• Germany edition
 
School allowed to ban Muslim pupil's praying
Photo: DPA

School allowed to ban Muslim pupil's praying

Published: 30 Nov 2011 17:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Nov 2011 17:18 GMT+01:00

However, the Leipzig-based federal administrative court found that the right to pray even at school was guaranteed by religious freedom under the constitution.

In the case of the 18-year-old pupil, who took his school to court, it justified the ban at his Berlin high school because the issue of praying had already sparked conflict among Muslim pupils.

The court said the school, in Berlin's ethnically diverse Wedding district, was right in stopping him from praying as "sometimes very severe conflicts" had broken out among Muslim pupils over the interpretation of the Koran.

Capping a more than two-year legal battle, it ruled that a pupil "is not entitled to perform prayer during school outside of class when this can disrupt the running of the school."

The pupil, identified only as Yunus M., is the son of a German Muslim convert. He had insisted on his basic right to religious freedom after the school principal told him praying at school was not permitted.

With an estimated four million Muslims living in Germany, the case sparked interest after two earlier regional court rulings first found in favour of the boy, only then to be overturned.

It began in November 2007 when Yunus M. and several other pupils laid down their jackets in the school corridor to pray during a break from class.

The following day the principal informed the boy and his parents that praying was not permitted on the grounds of the school which has students of about 30 different nationalities and nearly all major religions. She feared for the peaceful running of the school, she said.

Yunus M. had argued that because prayer times depend on the rising and setting of the sun, he had no other choice during the winter but to pray around midday while at school.

News weekly Der Spiegel said that the consequences of Wednesday's ruling

would be closely watched nationwide.

"Yunus M. kicked off proceedings which could write legal history," it said in its online edition.

Tilman Nagel, an expert in Islam who appeared as a witness at an earlier court hearing, said that postponing midday prayers was acceptable if there was a good reason.

He also argued that the Islamic ritual of praying undertaken with other people was very different to the Christian private act of praying, and was thus disruptive in a public space.

Germany has grappled with the thorny issue of the integration of its Muslim population since it signed a "guest worker" pact with Turkey 50 years ago.

This has sometimes fuelled tensions, with a former central banker publishing a runaway bestseller last year saying Germany was being made "more stupid" by millions of purportedly undereducated and unproductive Muslim migrants.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:40 November 30, 2011 by brnskin2010
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:11 November 30, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
Is this a "public school" as in a school open to the general public for free, or "public school" in British sense: i.e a private, fee paying school?
20:23 November 30, 2011 by nolibs
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:29 November 30, 2011 by marimay
Haha, nolibs is scared. What a fool.
04:39 December 1, 2011 by ChrisRea
Disruptive? If the school bully does not like the colour, probably wearing purple is also disruptive, isn't it?

@nolibs - Did you take a look at the history between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland? Then I guess you are also scared by those who chose to become Christians (don't worry too much though, there are not so many compared to those who are born into Christianity and have no idea about it).

If in the last sentence you were referring to the original ruling of the court, then I am with you on this one.
04:45 December 1, 2011 by Nemo2010
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:53 December 1, 2011 by GregAbdul
First, I would say the story is biased, It cites an "expert" saying that Muslims don't have to pray at a specific time? Now who doesn't know that Muslims are commanded to pray a midday prayer and to miss it is a sin. It's like saying you can murder....if you have a good excuse. Muslims are in every country in the world. A lot of you have a lot of growing up to do. We are not going to go back to anywhere and especially not to please you. You have to live with us, just as we have to live with you. We all need to be adults. The writer of this article is not being an adult because this article is biased and not balanced. The simple solution for all in this case is to simply assign the kids a room to pray in during lunch hour. Then they will be out of sight and still meeting their religious obligation, which actually does encourage them to be as private and out of the way as they can in making their prayers. The problem is them praying in the halls and that only happens because someone for some silly reason is not giving them a private prayer space.
09:23 December 1, 2011 by ChrisRea
@Nemo2010

Most probably the Muslim in case is already in his homeland, namely Germany. I am glad that you realise that the Western world is still a "boy's club" and women are not treated as equals. And yes, it is sad that followers of main religions (Christian, Muslim etc) kill each other in the name of their beliefs.
09:28 December 1, 2011 by asteriks
Politicians mixed themselves 100%, therefore later ruling by the court was against this boy. School principal should loose job because of racism. And check that principal if he/she grew up in Nazi family.
10:48 December 1, 2011 by DULS
Honestly this couldn¦#39;t get better; education system should be maintained free of any religion reference. Germany is no longer a Christian and it is not Islamic republic as we should move on and start looking at religion as a private issue.

If these kids want to pray, they can do it at home (sorry @GregAbdul) and I don't see a reason why the school have any obligation whatsoever to give them a room. Islam is another religion out there and should be treated as equal as the many others, I don't see Christian, Buddhist, Jews, scientologies and who knows what else, demanding a room or performing their religious ritual on public spaces.
13:07 December 1, 2011 by psykos
well guys its very simple, this praying thing would never bother anyone, infact it never actually bothered, if it was pre 9/11 era. Its just Islamphobia nothing else. And in future if US+NATO gets bored of fighting against same enemy and creates a new one, praying+etc will be again no problem

@DULS So you want to make Germany like Stalin's USSR or China?
13:11 December 1, 2011 by bugger
Public schools are not the place for public prayer. They are schools and not churches.

Try to publicly pray if you are a Christian in a public school in Turkey or in Saudi Arabia LOL
13:27 December 1, 2011 by storymann
bugger you also could add America to your list.
22:16 December 1, 2011 by Redwing
@ Simon_Kellet. As nobody has so far answered your question, let me. Public schools in Germany are just the ordinary non-fee-paying schools. There are very few private (or public as in the UK) schools. I don't know about now, but in my day it was considered a shame having to go to a private school because it meant that you were either so badly behaved that you were chucked out of school or you were a dunce and could not keep up with the school's curriculum.
02:02 December 2, 2011 by Neanderthal75
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:39 December 2, 2011 by DULS
@psykos, I would like Germany to become a real secular state, where religion is a private issue, I know that is naive but the court decision was in the right direction.

Some women like to get spank others like to wear a burka, but who are we to decided for them.

everything else, it is part of the same bla bla bla.
02:14 December 3, 2011 by ron1amr
Well spoken Neanderthal 75. I agree with the school as the praying could disrupt the school. If the boy had to do his prayers on a certain time, then he with his parents should have made consultations with the school in advance. Or either he should take leave from school in these times.
21:51 December 3, 2011 by viperella
No one shall obstruct hallways: it's a safety issue. Praying or not, there must be clear access to exits. Simple.
12:04 December 6, 2011 by nolibs
@psykos - really, you think nobody would be bothered by a group of muslims clogging up the hallways, chanting and praying, if not for the muslim terrorist attacks on 9/11 and 7/7? The student(s) could easily bow their heads in the direction of their holy space rock and pray silently. Rather, this is purely an attempt to disrupt the school, with the added effect of making it harder to be Christian as well (Germany IS a Christian country).
Today's headlines
Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Sonneborn in the EU Parliament. Photo: DPA

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train

Martin Sonneborn can’t believe his luck. The German comedian, leader of the political party “Die Partei”, managed to get elected to the European Parliament in May, and has found himself overwhelmed with fresh material. READ  

The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Early signs of flooding at the Hamburg fish market on Wednesday morning.

North braces for storms and floods

The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after securing a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,490
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd