Three German universities close prayer rooms used by Muslims

The Technical University of Berlin, Technical University of Dortmund and the university of Essen Duisburg have all closed prayer rooms

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The Independent Online

Three German universities have closed prayer rooms used by Muslims, leading to claims of discrimination.

The Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), Technical University of Dortmund (TU Dortmund) and the university of Essen Duisburg have all closed prayer rooms.

It is difficult for German universities to know how many Muslims study in their institutions, as they are not allowed to ask students about religion, The Local reports.

TU Berlin closed its two separate prayer rooms for male and female students on Monday. 

TU Berlin president Christian Thomsen told local news site Suddeutsche Zeitung the decision “boiled down to the fundamental question: do we want religious facilities at our universities? I think higher education and religion should be kept separate.

He added: “Previously Muslims didn’t have much opportunity to practise their religion in Berlin. But now there are enough prayer rooms the students can use – perhaps not within walking distance, but a few stops away by bus. A prayer room at the university is no longer necessary.”

A room for Muslim students which had been used for more than 20 years was also closed at the university of Essen-Duisburg.

Officials stated in an official letter the room has been closed due to "matters of space for the students to study".

"With more than 130 nations at our university, we can’t offer a room for every religion or culture," the university added. "The room was installed in a time in which there were no places for Muslims to go nearby. This has changed in the past two decades."

The Technical University of Dortmund also permanently closed its prayer room - intended for people of all faiths - Die Welt reported in February.

The university said Muslim men had tried to take over the room by imposing gender segregation and storing prayer mats inside.

The trend to close prayer rooms comes amid a wave of anti-Islam protests in Germany.