A church in Berlin, Germany’s capital, on Friday, opened its doors to Muslim worshippers unable to fit into their mosque under new physical distancing rules necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move has been hailed as “an amazing sign of solidarity”.
Germany allowed religious services to resume on May 4, 2020, but worshippers must maintain a distance of 1.5m (5ft).
Seeing that the Dar Assalam mosque in the city’s Neukölln district could only hold a fraction of its congregation, the Martha Lutheran church in Kreuzberg offered to help by hosting Friday prayers at the end of Ramadan.
“It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis,” the mosque’s Imam, Mohamed Taha Sabry, told Reuters news agency.
“This pandemic has made us a community. Crises bring people get together.”
“It was a strange feeling because of the musical instruments, the pictures,” congregation member Samer Hamdoun said, noting the contrast to Islamic worship.
“But when you look, when you forget the small details. This is the house of God in the end.”
The church’s pastor, Monika Matthias, who took part in the service, said she had felt moved by the Muslim call to prayer.
“I gave a speech in German,” said Monika Matthias. “And during prayer, I could only say yes, yes, yes, because we have the same concerns and we want to learn from you. And it is beautiful to feel that way about each other.”
The pastor added that the partnership was a community decision “to do the best in times of coronavirus”.