Speakers scheduled to speak at the event include Alice Schwarzer, one of Germany’s best known feminists, and Necla Kelek, a prominent critic of traditional Islam.
They also include Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, a male Islamic theologian who opposes the wearing of headscarves, and Khola Maryam Hübsch, a well-known journalist who wears a headscarf.
But students posting on an anonymous Instagram account under the hashtag “Schröter_raus”, or “Schröter out” this week accused the event of “playing into the hands of the far-Right”.
“Especially today, with the rising appeal of far-Right populism, women wearing the headscarf in Germany are victims of violence,” a post on the account read. The account has since been taken down.
“The accusation of Islamophobia becomes a blanket argument against any possible criticism of Islam,” Prof Schröter responded. “If freedom of expression is no longer possible, then that is the end of a free democratic society.”
The university’s student committee distanced itself from the protests. “The topic of the headscarf seems to us to be an excuse,” Fatma Keser, a spokesman, said. “We think it is important Islam is researched. The hate campaign wants to prevent that.”
“Statements like ‘Schröter_raus’ are beyond any scientific or democratic discourse. They are therefore unacceptable. Such statements have nothing to do with the quality requirements of an academic discourse and are unworthy of anyone who identifies themselves as members of our university,” Prof Wolff, the university president, said.