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German Ikea car park used for mass Eid prayer
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.