German universities start closing prayer rooms:
The Technical University in Dortmund has permanently closed down its prayer room – which was intended for people of all faiths – Die Welt reported in February.
The university says that Muslim men had tried to take it over by imposing gender segregation (with a prayer space for men larger than that for women) and storing prayer mats inside.
“The attempt to create a pan-religious meditation space has failed,” said a spokesperson.
At the university of Essen-Duisburg, a room for Muslim students that existed for more than 20 years has also been closed.
Officials stated in an official letter that the room had to be 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 said. “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.”
But part of the reason could also be that the institution received complaints from non-Muslim students that during prayer times certain activities became taboo, such as using the lift and toilets in the vicinity.
The prayer area is now to be replaced by a neutral “room of silence”.
Toilets (aka restrooms) are mostly silent.