Can a Muslim go to church

Muslims pray in the church

The first foundation walls of the new building are currently protruding from the excavation where the old prayer house of the Turkish-Islamic Association stood. Until the opening ceremony of the new mosque, the community will have to do without prayer rooms. During this time, the Islamic Berat night fell on Good Friday, when Allah opens three hundred gates of mercy and gives forgiveness, and Bayram, the sugar festival on June 4th, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan. For these two celebrations, the association received the right to host in the Zwingli Church and in the Hofackerzentrum.

Align the prayer mat with the mobile phone compass
"But this is a beautiful place of worship," says the Imam as he and his helpers enter the Zwingli Church before sunrise. They prepare the prayer for the Bayram festival. With the mobile phone compass, the men determine the direction of prayer to Mecca and roll out a large rug for those who have forgotten their personal prayer rug. "Allahu Akbar, God is greater," it sounds at dawn in the church. “Do Muslims pray here?” Asks a 40-year-old, who is late for morning prayer, confused. In his hand he holds the invitation to the Bayram prayer with the picture of the Zwingli Church.

Men from different generations have come. The older ones are guest workers who immigrated to Switzerland as young men. The younger ones grew up here. There are Turks, Kurds and many from the Balkans, Bosnia and Macedonia. There are also some boys. They look forward to the holiday and the presents, because Bayram both Muslims and Christians celebrate Christmas.

Chance for religious peace
The idea of ​​asking Reformed churches for rooms arose within the Schaffhausen Interreligious Dialogue. «The President of the Aqsa Mosque mentioned at a meeting that Muslims are looking for rooms for their festive prayers. Then I asked the parishes of Buchthalen and Zwingli, "says Markus Sieber from Interreligious Dialogue:" I was amazed at how openly both parishes responded to my request. " Sieber sees this as an opportunity for peace between the religions: “The Muslims see that one can also pray in a church. And Christians experience how central prayer is for Muslims ».

Only men and boys found their way into the churches on both days of the festival. "Prayer is not an obligation for women, but it is for men," says the retired pastor, "women usually pray at home". As with the Jews, the Muslims have separate prayer rooms for men and women so that everyone can concentrate fully on prayer. "There wasn't enough space for separate prayer rooms either in the Zwingli Church or in the Hofackerzentrum".

550 believers in the Zwinglikirche
After the break, the actual prayer begins in the Zwingli Church. Around 550 believers crowd into the church, some have to pray in the anteroom. After the prayer, the men say goodbye with a «Salam aleikum». «People wish each other peace. Today this peace has exceeded the boundaries of religions to some extent », said Sieber.

Adriana Schneider / Markus Sieber, kirchenbote-online, June 14, 2019