Closure of the Mosque-in-All-But-Name in Dortmund: The University’s Reply

As we reported last week, the Technical University of Dortmund is one of the German educational institutions that closed its “silent room” after Muslims effectively turned it into a mosque. Following a protest by campus Muslims who objected to the closure, the university issued an official reply.

In careful, dry bureaucratic language, the university said basically the same thing as the AfD, Viktor Orbán, Miloš Zeman, and Robert Fico: Islam is incompatible with the rights and norms of a democratic society, as well as with the university’s own regulations.

Below is the full text of the letter sent by the university to the complainants and subsequently made public. Many thanks to JLH for the translation. (The original pdf of the letter [in German] is available on the website of the Ruhr Nachrichten.)

Technical University of Dortmund
Office of the President:
by e-mail to Messrs

Subject: “Quiet Room”

Messrs. Y., Y., M.

In re. your communication of 25 January of this year in which, speaking not in your own names but as representatives of a group of 408 students of Dortmund Technical University, i.e., in the names of circa 1.2% of our students, you comment on the closing of the “Quiet Room” in our physics building on campus and criticize that action.

We do expressly welcome your speaking out in your communication against discrimination directed at certain groups of students, for the closing of the room was necessary to avoid this very discrimination.

Therefore, we are pleased to explain the background of our decision somewhat more completely, as follows.

As you know, TU Dortmund is a government institution, regulated by public law and financed by taxes, which is obliged in accordance with Article 3 of our constitution to exercise neutrality and equality of treatment in matters of religion, denomination, religious persuasion, etc. For the sake of simplicity, we take the liberty of quoting the preamble word-for-word.

Article 3 says:

(1)   All persons are equal before the law.
(2)   Men and women are equal. The state fosters the effective enforcement of equality of men and women and works toward elimination of existing obstacles.
(3)   No one may be disadvantaged or preferred because of his/her race, language, homeland or origins, religion, religious or political opinions. No one may be disadvantaged because of a handicap.

The requirement for a public university to be neutral and non-denominational is the reason that we are not in this situation entitled to accommodate the wishes of members of various religious group and factions for access to their own space on campus for the practice of their religions, and further, on grounds of availability of spatial resources. In consideration of the multiplicity of students and staff of those religions represented, we absolutely could not do it.

For that reason, the previous administration of TU Dortmund, under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Becker, on May 7, 2008, refused the request of a group of Muslim students for a prayer room. In this situation, as an example, the Catholic and Protestant student communities made facilities off-campus but in its vicinity available to their members at that time.

This proviso notwithstanding, however, we declared our readiness at the beginning of 2012, in consideration of — among other things — the diversity of existing religious beliefs among our students (especially the foreign students) who partly also because of their minority status, have no support locally, to experimentally supply equal access for all students at TU Dortmund to a space for prayer or meditation. It was also expected that with the possibility of utilization of this room by Muslim students as well, the then-as-now unacceptable practice of using stairwells by this student group as prayer spaces, which was in violation of fire prevention regulations, would be prevented.

The chosen space was given the neutral name “Quiet Room” and rendered to the administration of the AStA (General Students’ Committee) for a period of two years, upon which the AStA, in agreement with the university administration, issued an ordinance of use, which was intended to ensure the requisite philosophical neutrality and diversity of its utility. Selected citations therefrom are:

Use Ordinance for the Quiet Room at TU Dortmund

§ 1 Intended purpose

The Quiet Room has the sole purpose of making possible for the members of TU Dortmund a sanctuary for the undisturbed, individual practice of their religion (prayer) and/or meditation. Events or meetings of any kind shall not take place in the Room.

§ 2 Use of the space

In the interest of maintaining peace on the premises, behavior that is both considerate and amenable to compromise is indispensable…

Exercise of domiciliary rights are the province of the AStA of TU Dortmund. Its directives or those of its authorized personnel are to be obeyed.

§ 3 Maintaining tranquility

In the Quiet Room, calm is to be maintained and noise of any kind avoided.

§ 4 The appearance of the Room

The Quiet Room is to be kept philosophically and religiously neutral. Religious symbols, signs or the like must not be mounted or posted. It is not permitted to display, post or hang notices, brochures, flyers or the like with religious or philosophical reference within, or in the direct vicinity of, the Room…

When the utilization of the room in accordance with its stated purpose had proceeded without difficulty in the first months, and the many, early, highly critical voices which had warned against a “take-over by Muslim conversion of the Room into a prayer room and a concomitant expulsion of visitors of different beliefs” had been silenced, there followed unfortunately in the ensuing time period an initial, massive offense against the Room’s utilization ordinance and declared purpose.

Specifically, an inspection by the AStA revealed that, against the use ordinance for the Room, diverse prayer rugs and Korans were stored there, and further, flyers in Arabic and German-language lectures were laid out, containing, among other things, how women must dress and behave (e.g., wearing a head-scarf, eschewal of perfume, etc.). Moreover, it was established that there was utilization by third parties in group events, and, further that the room was divided during use into gender-specific sections.

All of the above prompted the AStA to temporarily close the facility and have a clarifying discussion with the responsible parties. After reinstatement of the ordinance and the prospect of a positive prognosis, the Room was once again opened. At the same time, to enhance comfort, the Room was furnished with two sofas, bookshelves and a ca. 2m X 2m painting on canvas.

Now new complaints by other students have reached us, concerning substantial offenses against the utilization ordinance, which have compelled us to unavoidable action, because of an offense — under no circumstances acceptable — against the above-cited Article 3 of our constitution (inter alia, equality of men and women).

According to these complaints, female visitors to the Room have several times been intercepted and informed that they had entry only to a smaller, optically and physically closed-off part of the room, while the larger part of the room was reserved for men.

Our own ensuing inspection of the space revealed that the sturdy, ceiling-high bookshelves had been converted into room dividers, beginning at the entrance, separating the room into a larger, brighter area and a smaller, darker one. Additionally, blankets had been hung over the bookcases, ensuring that there was no line-of-sight from one area to the other. Furthermore, the painting mounted on a 2 x 2 meter wooden frame, originally intended as decoration for the Room, now served as a “sliding door” to allow the complete optical and physical closure of the “room within a room”. Moreover, numerous prayer rugs and Korans were found in both areas.

In this context, unfortunately, we regard the attempt to establish a neutral “Quiet Room” accessible equitably to all faiths as having failed. Since the trial period of two years has expired and not been extended, the university no longer has any obligation to continue the project.

Your opinion therefore, that a “rigorous and unagreed-upon closure” is in prospect is therefore meaningless.

In future, the room will again be dedicated to teaching and research and thus directly serve those goals, which is in accordance with the state obligation of the university and contributes to relieving the scarcity of space resources. Currently, there is also a desire by a large group of members of the university, who would like to have — in this area of campus as in other areas of campus — a so-called “baby and relaxation room”. Consideration is being given to this desire for an undisturbed place of retreat. We will be happy to discuss this with the responsible university committees.

Your attribution of an alleged mocking, discrimination, anti-Islamic racism or a generalized suspicion, we reject in the strongest possible terms. We are happy to take up your remarks on the significance of integration and take the liberty of adding that knowledge and acceptance of the laws which apply in the Federal Republic of Germany, by which we are all bound, is a part of it. Equality under the law of men and women is an inviolable core of those laws.

On the basis of the public interest you have described in this affair, we are making our answer to your letter immediately available for publication.

Office of the President

16 thoughts on “Closure of the Mosque-in-All-But-Name in Dortmund: The University’s Reply

  1. I wish our academic bureaucrats spoke/wrote so plainly.
    I wish our academic bureaucrats spoke such common sense.
    I wish I could put on wings and fly.

    • I wish this man – or woman – wasn’t such an exception in Germany, either.

  2. I agree. Indeed, it is one of the most effective ways of delivering an “up yours” response I have seen from a European institution.

  3. Dry and bureaucratic it is, but a simply gorgeous way of telling Muslims to go jump in the lake. A model for every public institution throughout the West.

  4. Standby for the reprisals from the dhimmi government. I think we’ll hear more about this university soon.

  5. Well! What a breath of sane, fair thinking, clear, and logical thought. I was beginning to despair of those in power, from the small to the large. I had begun to think, that appeasement to a rather nasty little group of uncivilised persons was becoming the norm in the West.

  6. Thank goodness there is still some sanity left in Germany. Congrats to the president of Technical University of Dortmund.

  7. The West is using reasoning on Islam….straight from the Enlightenment.
    They are trying to use power and privilege on us.

    Can these two disparate groups of people ever get along?

    How many thousands of times do we give them the benefit of doubt and try to reason with them? Shouldn’t we ascend the learning curve?…and use power and privilege on them?…so that we speak in their language?

    We can’t allow people into our country who do not play by its rules. Logic and reasoning are essential parts of these rules.

  8. Well done. Unfortunately now the university will likely be some sort of target since it will be considered to be Islamophobic and racist. Whether attacked by the so called anti-fascists, Muslims or the German authorities themselves. It will be interesting to see if this is the end of this drama or not. Let’s hope so.

  9. When the utilization of the room in accordance with its stated purpose had proceeded without difficulty in the first months, and the many, early, highly critical voices which had warned against a “take-over by Muslim conversion of the Room into a prayer room and a concomitant expulsion of visitors of different beliefs” had been silenced…

    Ha ha! Idiots. The very next sentence describes how those “many, early, highly critical voices” whom the administrators “silenced” were right. They should not have been silenced. And now the school should apologize to them.

    • “had been silenced” — that’s an error in the translation. German text says “verstummt waren” which should have been translated to “had become silent” — as there did not happen in the first 3 month what was expected by them.

  10. Wonderful
    Islam religion is evil and has no place to expand in a democratic society. It is incomprehensible that the situation has been allowed to even develop the way it had in Germany and Europe. Wait as Muslims will proliferate into the government positions and will start changing the laws that govern Germany and Universities and institutions ( same for other countries).
    When that happens it will be the end of European democratic society.
    This is happening globally, but the influx of economic aggressive Muslims in Europe pretending they all are refugees has to be stopped.

    The Leftist ‘political correct’ establishment is the most destructive and sensless. It became an aggressive political force prosecuting and condemning all those who disagree. We are called racists when we point out all the antidemocratic nonsense going on with islamic newcomers.

    Germany and Merkel did the gesture to open doors to Middle East refugees.
    Note- Pakistan and Afghanistan most of whom commit crimes in Europe are NOT from that war region and should not be allowed in.

    The gesture was a pitty on refugees and was to forever errase German guilt from War World II crimes against humanity. It was to bring in closure.
    Instead, over a million of anti semites ( by religion if nothing else) were allowed in and more millions are coming.
    The result is an increase in European anti semitism which is growing.
    More- the Muslim religion is against everyone who is not a proper Muslim and it will one day destroy Germany and any place the religious Muslims come in. It is an invasion where most are not refugees.
    It needs to be seen as such and dealt with do defend oir rights.
    We worked hard for what we have established and if we share and take care of Muslim refugees to give them new life and opportunities in our society they need to be grateful and live accordingly. There needs to be a clear expectation set like the University of Dortmund governing statement.

    The world should learn from University of Dortmund.

    Otherwise, demographically, non integrated, a birth rate 3:1 ( my own estimate), aggression of killing those,who disagree with Islam- we are doomed.

    Zorka Breslin

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