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German university apologizes over Muslim discrimination

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BERLIN: Widespread criticism on social media has forced the German university in the southern city of Munich to apologize to two female Muslim students over discriminatory practices during online exams.

HM Hochschule Munchen said on Twitter that “it offered sincere apologies” to the students who were asked by instructors to remove their headscarves during online exams to rule out any suspicion of fraud.

“Religious headdresses cannot be compared to ordinary fashion accessories, and they have to be handled differently,” the university’s management said and promised that it would change the instructions to the examination supervisors to ensure respect for religious freedom.

One of the students thanked social media users for their support via her Instagram account “kb.ra”, but also criticised the management for their late response to the incident.

She underlined that Muslim student will continue their efforts until the university’s management ensures equal treatment, and puts an end to the discriminatory practices.

“We won’t stop until we get justice,” she said on her Instagram account.

Although Germany’s Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, Muslims, especially women wearing a headscarf, often face discriminatory practices in the education and labour market.

The country witnessed growing racism and anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years, fuelled by the propaganda of neo-Nazi groups and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

Germany, a country of over 83 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 5.3 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.

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