On Wednesday, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court is set to rule on whether German schools must accommodate Muslims by providing them with a place to pray.
In a landmark case, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig will rule on Wednesday whether schools need to provide practicing Muslim pupils with a place and the opportunity to pray.
The case revolves around Yunus M., who was 14 years old when he was barred from observing midday prayers in the corridor of his school in Berlin. Although Muslims have been praying in German schools for decades, his case marks the first time German courts have had to rule on the issue.
“I think the case has been hyped from both sides. Now, we have almost reached the final legal stage and that’s why it’s now turned into a political debate,” said Aiman Mazyek, of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims.
“In the past, schools have been more pragmatic and laid-back about the issue, but now that has been pushed back.”
Other experts on Islam, such as Sabine Damir-Geilsdorf at the University of Bonn, chime in with that view, arguing that schools have usually had a flexible approach to Muslim prayers, allowing midday and afternoon prayers to be combined, for example.
“The majority of Muslim legal experts agree it’s possible to shorten or combine prayers because of illness, travel, or requirements at work,” she said.