Coronavirus: Berlin church welcomes worshippers unable to fit in mosque for Friday prayers

The Dar Assalam mosque is only able to accommodate 50 people due to social distancing rules

Muslims pray inside the evangelical church of St. Martha's parish, during their Friday prayers, as the community mosque can't fit everybody in due to social distancing rules, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

A church in Berlin has welcomed Muslim worshippers who were unable to take part in Friday prayers at their mosque because of social distancing rules.

The Martha Lutheran church offered its help after the Dar Assalam mosque was only able to accommodate 50 people compared to the hundreds it normally caters for.

Muslims pray inside the evangelical church of St. Martha's parish, during their Friday prayers, as the community mosque can't fit everybody in due to social distancing rules, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Places of worship reopened on May 4 after being shut for weeks but people must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.

Imam Mohamed Taha Sabry led prayers in German and Arabic.

"It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis," he told Reuters.

"This pandemic has made us a community. Crises bring people get together."

"It was a strange feeling because of the musical instruments, the pictures," said worshipper Samer Hamdoun. "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, said she had felt moved by the Muslim call to prayer.

"I took part in the prayer," she said. "I gave a speech in German. 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."

Muslims leave the evangelical church of St. Martha's parish, after their Friday prayers, as the community mosque can't fit everybody in due to social distancing rules, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020.   REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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