German police are investigating whether four young Muslim students attempted to impose stringent Islamic procedures, such as gender segregation and stoning, at a comprehensive school in the Western city of Neuss.
The students are alleged to have demanded women “cover themselves” and for sexes to be “segregated” both in the classroom and during swimming lessons.
It is reported they further demanded Muslims should be allowed to leave school early on Fridays to join prayer meetings.
The four students at the Nordstadt Comprehensive School in the North Rhine-Westphalia region city are reported to have made these demands apparently motivated by Islamic Sharia law.
They are also reported to have pressured other students to follow suit, regarding them as “bad Muslims” for not wanting to do so.
They allegedly demanded pupils roll up the trouser cuffs over their shoes and pray five times a day to “follow the example of Mohammed” and called for a separate prayer room in the school.
The four, aged 17, 18 and 19, are alleged to have made it explicitly clear in class that they “oppose democracy”.
A police report, seen by German media and first reported by Rheinische Post, noted there were several such incidents in March and December last year involving the accused students.
Their parents were also screened, according to the police report, which stated: “There is no apparent relevance to state security in their case.”
The State Criminal Police Office (Landeskriminalamt) now has the information provided by investigators, along with a request to transfer the data to the Ministry of the Interior and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
The alleged activities of the four have been reported by the school to the local district authorities, which will then notify ministerial offices.
Alongside that, all relevant North Rhine-Westphalian authorities have also been made aware of the situation, it is reported.
Herbert Reul, Minister of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia, described the case as “serious”.
He urged parents, teachers and youth workers to be “more vigilant” regarding possible “Islamist radicalisation” of young people.
“If you notice something happening, address it early,” he said.
A spokesperson for the supervisory authority for schools in Düsseldorf told German news magazine FOCUS, the four students did not “agitate for compliance” with Sharia law, but “expressed in one-on-one conversations with teachers that they are in favour of a strict interpretation of Islam”.
There was no “acute” emergency, the Schulaufsicht spokesperson said, adding that, overall, the school’s handling of the incidents could be described as “prudent”.
There was no explanation forthcoming as to why the school management had apparently called in State security at the end of 2023.
Three of the pupils involved are said to have an Arab-immigrant background, while the fourth has an Italian pedigree, Düsseldorf public prosecutor Laura Neumann told FOCUS.
The school has now signed up to the State Government’s preventive programme, it said, with a goal to keep youth from becoming “entangled” in Islamism.
Alongside that, it seeks to identify young individuals who are becoming “radicalised” early on.
It is reported that Germany is experiencing a rise in radical Islamism. For months, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) have been calling for attacks in Europe and Germany, it is claimed.
The BBC reported on November 29 last year that two boys aged 15 and 16 were arrested by German authorities on suspicion of planning a militant Islamist attack on a Christmas market or a synagogue in Leverkusen, also in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has said the “threat situation” in the country had escalated since Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack in Israel.