German ikea opened car park for mass Eid prayer

The branch in Germany gave permission for the outdoor space to be used as a socially-distanced mass prayer.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered in an Ikea car park in Germany for socially-distanced mass prayers to mark the end of Ramadan.

The Ikea store in Wetzlar, Hesse, dedicated its car park to enable around 800 Muslims from a local mosque to hold their closing prayers while safely spaced out, to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Germany has allowed places of worship to reopen, but congregations must follow social distancing rules and maintain a minimum of the German government recommended 1.5 metres apart from one another.

Kadir Terzi, chairman of the Wetzlar mosque, told the BBC he approached Ikea last week while looking for a space that could accommodate many people for the prayer.

While he was not hopeful that he would receive a positive response, the Ikea store’s manager “didn’t hesitate for a second.”

Mr Terzi said: “I was surprised and happy at the same time … The closing prayer with all Muslims in Wetzlar was like a reward for us.”

Ikea Deutschland said in a statement: “Representatives of three Muslim religious communities in Wetzlar contacted the Ikea store in search of a protected outdoor place where they could hold their prayer at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

“After receiving approval for the event from the city and the public order office, Ikea Wetzlar made its parking lot available for the prayer.”

As people arrived they were given their own spaces to place their prayer mats.

Aerial footage taken with a drone showed the unusual sight of hundreds of people performing their prayers with Ikea’s storefront in the background.

The ikea store in Wetzlar dedicated its car park to enable around 800 Muslims from a local mosque to hold their closing prayers whilst adhering to social distancing. (IGMG Wetzlar Faith)

Mr Terzi said the prayer held particular significance because the coronavirus pandemic forced many worshippers into isolation during this year’s Ramadan.

During the holy month of fasting families usually come together each night to break their fasts and carry out charitable works.

Photos of the prayer were shared widely on social media, with many praising the store for allowing the local Muslim congregation to mark the occasion.

The mosque said in a statement: “We would like to express our gratitude to the Wetzlar police, the Wetzlar public order office, management of Ikea Wetzlar, brothers and all that made this extraordinary prayer possible. Thank you so much.”

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