BERLIN – In light of the annual Open Mosque Day in Germany, thousands of non-Muslims were invited to visit mosques across the country on October 3 to encourage dialogue and help overcome misunderstandings about Islam.
“This day gives an opportunity for more than 100,000 visitors to learn more about Islam and get into conversation with Muslims,” Burhan Kesici, spokesman for Germany’s Muslim Coordination Council (KRM), said in a statement cited by The Anadolu Agency.
During the event, imams in 900 German mosques gave presentations about the Islamic faith and culture and answered visitors’ questions.
Notably, Joachim Stamp, North Rhine-Westphalia’s integration minister, was among the hundreds of visitors who came to see Cologne Central Mosque, the most prominent mosque in Germany.
Every year on October 3, the Muslim community in Germany invites visitors from different faiths for the Day of the Open Mosque.
It was a conscious decision to choose the Day of German Unity for this event as it’s intended to emphasize the extent to which Muslims belong to united Germany.
“By opening our doors to the public, we want to show that we are transparent, we are open to dialogue, and we are also part of this society,” Kesici explained.
“When people know less about something, then they have more concerns and fears about it. And such fears could be exploited by others with bad intentions. Having more transparency, enhancing dialogue and communication is an antidote to this,” he continued.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the 2nd largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France.
There are nearly 4.7 million Muslims in the central European country representing 5.7% of its total population.