Muslims around the world observed the toughest Aid al Fitr feast as coronavirus social distance measure made it hard to perform the feast prayer inside the mosques. An IKEA branch in Germany designated its colossal parking lot for Muslims so they could perform the Eid prayer without having any space issue and Muslims around the world hailed the Swedish company for its gesture.
Representatives from Germany’s two largest Muslim bodies, DITIB and IGMG which oversees more than 17 hundred mosques through out Germany paid a visit to the managers of IKEA branch in the small western city of Wetzlar. As the capacity of mosques in the area was far from meeting the demand for the Eid prayer, Muslims officials had been searching for large open spaces to perform the prayer. IKEA’s colossal parking lot seemed like a perfect place. Traditional Turkish baklava presented to the IKEA managers during the visit certainly had an impact on their decision. IKEA did not hesitate to designate its parking lot for the Muslim community and hundreds of people showed up on Sunday at the IKEA branch for the prayer.
Muslims in some countries like Turkey could not perform the Eid prayer at all on Sunday as the mosques are still closed after being shot down to stem the coronavirus spread. Germany reopened the mosques on May 20th under certain conditions including strict following of social distance rule which dramatically reduced the capacity of the mosques. And Eid prayers traditionally gather large crowds which exhausts mosques’ capacity. Muslim community found the solution on praying in open spaces. Several local German authorities also allocated parks and soccer fields to Muslims for the Eid prayer but an image of praying Muslims apart from each other one and a half meter from the parking lot of an IKEA branch went viral.
Muslims not just Germany but also around the globe hailed the Swedish company for its gesture. A freelance journalist, German-born of Turkish descent, Bahar Unlusoy shared the image on her popular Twitter account and said IKEA is a Muslim-friendly company the it does not refrain from using images of veiled Muslim woman on its brochures. Kurdish journalist and academic Zeynep Karatas in Turkey also showed gratitude to IKEA on social media. Turkish-German lawyer from Duisburg, Germany was one of the prominent persons to thank IKEA for designating its parking spot for the Muslims on Eid al Fitr.
Mosques in Germany have been implementing strict self-imposed measures to protect its congregations from the fatal coronavirus as well as the society after being reopened on May 20th.