In recent weeks I've seen several people get to my blog by looking up 'separate entrances for Muslims in German schools' and related queries. I was curious, for two reasons:
1. I was curious whether such a story could be true. In post-Holocaust Germany it seemed incredible that there would be schools where students are divided by religion.
2. I was curious whether this story had a pro or anti Islamist slant. Having separate entrances for Muslims and non-Muslims is something that could be viewed as extreme right wing, as well as extreme Islamist.
I therefore decided to do my own research into the topic. The source itself was quite easy to find:
Two schools in Berlin have installed two separate entrances – one for German Christians and Jews and the other for Muslim Arabs and Turks. (Journal Chretien, on online journal of the Global Christian Mission)
This quote appears in various other sources around the web, but never with more information. It is simply "two schools in Berlin".
Various discussions on the web on this issue bring several other sources, claiming that such segregation was not official, but something that was enforced by the students themselves. I turned to Editrix to help me with researching and translating.
[Update, see my 1st comment below:]
The main source for this story comes from Der Tagesspiegel "Civilized standards don't hold any more". The article is an interview with two youth judges and brings stories of extensive violence of Turk and Arab youths towards their German classmates at German (Berlin) schools, grabbing their mobile phones and MP3-players and some such. One judge says that he had been told of a school where Arabs and Turks prevented German students from using one entrance into the school. This might be a true story, but like all other stories, it lacks facts, names and corroboration from other sources.
My next question was: are there schools with separate entrances elsewhere in Europe?
The answer is again - no.
Brussels Journal brings a story of a school in Amsterdam with separate entrances for Dutch and for immigrants . Reading the story itself, it seems that this is not exactly the case. There are two schools using the same building - De Rietlanden school and the 8th Montessori school Zeeburg. These are two separate schools, but since 8th Montessori - the 'white' school - is so successful and attracts so many students, it took over the upper floor of De Rietlanden. Both schools have Dutch and immigrant students, but De Rietlanden apparently has a majority of such students and a major problem attracting students. De Rietlanden has about 170 while 8th Montessori has 600.
According to the 8th Montessori school principal, they take in about 1/3 of the immigrant students with learning problems, just as the other two schools in the neighborhood, but it is less apparent by them due to the school's large size. ( De Volkskrant, Dutch)
More research led me to stories of schools in Bosnia, where Muslim and non-Muslim students are completely segregated.
Students walk along the same road to school but once there, Muslim and Croatian children use separate entrances, file into different classrooms to different teachers who use conflicting books, says Reuters. "We don't socialize with them. We only beat them up," laughed a 13-year-old Bosnian Croat, loudly approved by other boys. The system of "two schools under one roof" was put in place when refugees started returning to heartland areas of the Muslim-Croat federation where once multi-ethnic communities were now clearly dominated by a majority. The plan, which led to the foundation of 54 schools, aimed to protect minorities against cultural assimilation. In practice, it brought segregation: pupils use separate doors or attend classes in shifts, sitting in rooms bearing the symbols of another nation. (Islam Online, English)
In both these cases, it is not 'Muslim supremacy' that is the cause of having separate entrances. In the Netherlands, it is the wish of Dutch parents not to send their kids to a "black" school, while in Bosnia it is an issue of different outlooks on geography, history and language.
French journalist Georges Bensoussan describes what is happening in French schools:
Muslim-Arab schoolchildren in primary school started the custom of using separate taps, one for the "muslims" and the other for the "French". Muslims leaders requested separate changing rooms for the students "since circumcised males cannot undress alongside the unclean". (Antisemitism in French Schools: Turmoil of a Republic, Hebrew University, 2004, based on interviews)
But even here there are no separate entrances for schools.
There is one western country, though, where you can find separate entrances for Muslims and non-Muslims: in Israel, on the Temple Mount. There are several entrances to the Temple Mount. Most are open only for Muslims and only one is available for non-Muslims, the Mughrabi Gate. Muslims recently demanded to close this gate when Israel wanted to conduct archaeological excavations at the site, in preparation for rebuilding a new bridge up to the gate. This was more than a demand to close down archaeological excavations. It was a demand to close down the only gate into the Temple Mount which is open for non-Muslims.
Stories of separate entrances for Muslims and non-Muslims in Western European schools are unsubstantiated. Until there are real facts to prove such stories - pictures, interviews or serious news stories which bring names of schools and other such information, the only conclusion is that they are simply urban legends.