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 dedicated its car park on Sunday 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 distance of 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 allowing them to stay apart.
He was not hopeful he would receive a positive response, but the store manager “didn’t hesitate for a second and said ‘yes, you can pray’”, he said.
“I was surprised and happy at the same time … The closing prayer with all Muslims in Wetzlar was like a reward for us,” said Mr Terzi.
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 gold 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…