An Ikea store near Frankfurt in west Germany handed over its car park to a local mosque for socially-distanced mass prayers and won praise online. Around 800 Muslims prayed in the large outdoor space to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan on Sunday.
"The closing prayer with all Muslims in Wetzlar was like a reward for us," a mosque chairman told BBC News.
Places of worship have reopened in Germany but they must follow rules to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Looking for an alternative space to accommodate many people practising social distancing, the chairman of a Wetzlar mosque, Kadir Terzi, approached Ikea last week. He told BBC News he wasn't hopeful he would receive a positive response. "But the store manager didn't hesitate for a second and said 'yes, you can pray'.
The mosque invited worshippers to bring their prayers mats and face masks to the Ikea car park, but reminded them of the German coronavirus rules that children under 12 should be left at home and people must keep physically apart. After a shaky start with some crowding at the entrance, a video shows hundreds of people lying down their prayer mats at a distance from each other, aided by stewards.
Claiming space for Islam. They will expect to use it next year, pandemic or not.
Meanwhile Christians and Jews, in all their various countries, quickly refrained from gathering together, in order not to run the risk of infecting their vulnerable elderly. We all prayed and worshipped quietly at home, whether we lived alone or in families or households; because although our respective faiths encourage gathering together, we do not do the "mob" thing like Islam does; and we have a very strong tradition of the wilderness journey, the time spent - alone, or in a very small group - in the presence of God. We will joyfully gather as soon as we deem it safe and prudent to do so... but in the meantime, unlike the mohammedan mobsters, we are quite content to wait, and pray alone or in small groups, at home. I would guess that Buddhists and Hindus, too, with strong traditions of the solitary hermit/ contemplative, can encourage their fellow adherents to explore those aspects of their traditions, when it is imprudent or downright dangerous to gather in temples or for festivals. The Muslims should have been told to do as everyone else has done, and.. PRAY BY YOURSELVES AT HOME.
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