May 26, 2020 – An Ikea store manager in Wetzlar West Germany allows Muslims to use parking lot for their Eid Prayers, allowing them to pray in congregation while maintaining social distancing.
Around 800 Muslims in the city of Wetzlar gathered together to bring an official end to the holy month of Ramadan with the Eid Prayer.
Germany lifted their total shutdown on places of worship on May 4th, 2020 but restrictions such as social distancing of at least 5 feet still apply. All Mosques in Wetzlar, including IGMG Wetzlar FATIH CAMII, would have only been able to host a small fraction of their expected worshippers and so its chairman, Mr. Kadir Terzi, started looking for an alternative space.
Last week, Mr. Terzi reached out to the Wetzlar Ikea with low hopes but was pleasantly surprised by the response. “The store manager didn’t hesitate for a second and said ‘yes, you can pray,’” he told BBC News.
The prayer was organised in collaboration with Ditib Wetzlar Mosque and advertised on their social media pages.
Worshippers were invited to bring their own prayer mats and face masks, and reminded of official regulations to leave children under 12 at home and observe distancing regulations.
Communal gatherings were made essentially impossible for the duration of Ramadan. These gatherings are a staple of the holy month owing to the widely practiced traditions of breaking fasts together and performance of additional Tarawih prayers.
The prayers were conducted successfully and the Wetzlar Mosque put out a statement expressing their gratitude at being able to conduct the service.
“We would like to thank the Wetzlar police, the Wetzlar public order office, Ikea Wetzlar management, brothers, and all who contributed to making this extraordinary holiday prayer possible,” the statement read.
A simple act of kindness in Wetzlar restored a small but vital measure of community for hundreds of its Muslim residents. With aerial drone footage and pictures from the event being widely circulated on social media, thousands more hearts around the globe were touched by the initiative and cooperation.