An Ikea store near the German city of Frankfurt has won much praise for handing over its car park to a local mosque for socially distanced mass prayers.
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.
Pictures of the Bayram, or Eid al-Fitr prayer, posted on social media have been widely shared – with many complimenting the mosque for finding a safe way for the community to pray together.
Looking for an alternative space to accommodate many people practicing 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' – I was surprised and happy at the same time," explained Mr. Terzi, who then organized the prayer along with Ditib Wetzlar mosque.
Mr. Terzi said the prayer was particularly important because many worshippers felt isolated during Ramadan due to coronavirus restrictions.
Ordinarily the month of fasting is a busy time when families and communities gather nightly to break their fasts and organize charity work.
"It was a completely different Ramadan month, without contacts, without visits and without breaking the fast together," he explained, adding that the chance to pray together was very valuable.
"We would like to express our gratitude to the Wetzlar police, the Wetzlar regulatory office, to IKEA Wetzlar and others that made this extraordinary prayer possible. Have a blessed holiday," the message, posted onto the group’s Wetzlar Facebook page, said.
The New Arab reports that similarly creative measures were taken across in the U.S., where Muslims decorated their cars in line with the holiday, attending prayers in their vehicles in an effort to capture the holiday spirit amid strict coronavirus restrictions.
Meanwhile, in Canada's Ottowa, a mosque held its first-ever drive-in prayer, after finalizing the decision last minute on Saturday. Families inside the cars were connected to the Imam via popular video messaging app Zoom, where a lecture was being held prior to the official prayer ceremony.
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