Muslim students at a German university have seized control of a “silent room” designed as a space for all pupils, transforming it into a makeshift mosque and erecting a wall to segregate genders. There are also feet washing facilities and signs instructing women to wear the veil and to not wear perfume.
After a series of complaints the room at the Technical University of Dortmund was closed, but 400 angry students quickly signed a petition demanding it be reopened and alleging anti-Muslim prejudice.
Last Wednesday, the university replied in an open letter addressed to Muslim student leaders, explaining that the institution is strictly secular and gender segregation is illegal in German public institutions.
“Female visitors of the room were repeatedly intercepted at the entrance by Muslim male users and told that they only had access to a small, more confined space, compared to the larger part reserved for men”, the letter reads.
…“The space of silence is to be kept ideologically and religiously neutral. Religious symbols, characters or the like must not be placed,” the rules for the room stipulate.