German Court Says Muslim Student Must Be Given Time to Pray

Posted by Kendall Harmon

German religious freedom laws require a school to let a devout Muslim student set aside some time during the school day for prayers, a Berlin court ruled Tuesday (Sept. 29).

The ruling reaffirmed a temporary order from 2008 that requires the school to allow the student time to engage in prayer at least once a day—but not during class time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

Posted September 30, 2009 at 5:43 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ad Orientem wrote:

The ruling reaffirmed a temporary order from 2008 that requires the school to allow the student time to engage in prayer at least once a day—but not during class time.

Honestly that does not strike me as unreasonable.

September 30, 6:48 pm | [comment link]
2. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

So Christians that wish to pray the Hours may do so in School now?

September 30, 8:00 pm | [comment link]
3. A Senior Priest wrote:

I agree with both comments 1 & 2

September 30, 8:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #2
In general I believe that any student who wishes for a little time to pray or otherwise observe their religious obligations should be accommodated insofar as possible as long as their requests do not interfere with other students rights or the smooth running of the school.  That said I will note an important point.  The reading of the Hours , though doubtless a pious practice, is not obligatory among lay Christians.  For Muslims prayer 5x a day is obligatory.


September 30, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

German Court Says Muslim Student Must Be Given Time to Pray

Good! Nothing to whine about here. 

The court ruled that the school must allow the student to pray once a day at a time that did not conflict with class hours.

The court rightly (as described in the article) held “that a student’s religious freedom is not limited to his ability to believe or not, but also requires that the student have the opportunity to follow practices mandated by his faith.”

The school had taken the secularist position that allowing the student a time and place to pray would impermissible favor one religion over another.

September 30, 9:08 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeffersonian wrote:

This seems perfectly reasonable. 

[Edited by Elf]

September 30, 9:10 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeffersonian wrote:

[Edited by Elf - please remain on topic and not introduce sub-threads]

September 30, 9:23 pm | [comment link]
8. Jeffersonian wrote:

[Comment deleted by Elf]

September 30, 9:35 pm | [comment link]
9. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

The reason for my question is that last I knew, even having a moment of silence at the beginning of the day had been challenged in our schools because students might be praying quietly to themselves during that time.  I thought that it had been forbidden.  I was just expressing the wonder of whether the sauce was good for both geese and gander.

I recall a story of a graduating student and the class going to the lengths of the student giving a speech at graduation feigning a sneeze during his speech and members of the class shouting out in unison, “God bless you!”  Now, if students had to go to such lengths to pray in school, I had the impression that Christian prayer was forbidden.  I had even heard of cases where a Christian student had been disciplined for praying over his meals in the cafeteria.  The case was resolved by the ACLJ.

Perhaps, I got it all wrong?

So, I see this a positive development and hope that the tolerance will extend beyond Islam, even to the Christian faith.

September 30, 10:55 pm | [comment link]
10. Katherine wrote:

This is reasonable.  The student will, like most of the Muslims I know and saw in Cairo, say his prayers at a convenient time between or after classes and not necessarily at the exact time as calculated by the imams.  In Egyptian factories, there is a regular midday break at 11:45 and noontime prayers are said then without regard to what the precisely correct prayer time for the day may be.

I agree that accommodations for voluntary Christian prayer should be allowed as well.

October 1, 8:51 am | [comment link]
11. Deacon Francie wrote:

I hope that the German government will allow Christians to have a time of prayer that does not interfere with classes as well.  These days in Europe we so often hear of accommodation being made for Muslims and we rarely hear of any accommodation for Christians.  I lament the loss of Christianity in Europe along with Pope Benedict.  Alas!

October 1, 12:25 pm | [comment link]
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