The 3rd of October has two important meanings for German society. One goes back to the 3rd of October of the year 1990, the reunification of Germany. Previously, Germany was split into Eastern and Western Germany due to political issues. 3rd October is well known as the national German Unity Day and is a legal holiday of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The other reason 3rd October is an important meaning is that it is the Open Day of Mosques all over Germany. The Open Day aims to create a platform for exchange between Muslims and non-Muslims. With this initiative Muslims want to prevent prejudice against their religion and want to convey an understanding of their religion in a better and more accurate way by opening their doors. The face to face communications show also that many participants receive a lot of information via the media which often report about Muslims without asking their opinions on different issues. The Open Day of Mosques is a way to create a direct interaction among people of different backgrounds, change perceptions and act against prejudice and Islamophobia which is increasing nowadays.
Because of the deep meaning of the unification of Germany on the 3rd of October the Muslim community in Germany decided to hold the official Open Day of Mosques on this important day. It symbolizes the togetherness within German society regardless of religion, ideology or color. This year about 1000 mosques participated in the Open Day, and thousands of people were expected to attend.
The Coordination Council of Muslims (KRM) has been organising the Open Day of Mosques since 2007. Every year there is a new slogan which sets the theme of the Open Day. This year the slogan was called “Umweltschutz – Moscheen setzen sich ein“ (Protection of the environment – mosques speak up). Lots of mosques prepared their own activities according to this motto, but there were also preparation teams which organised their own programs.
In the Villa Hahnenburg mosque in Cologne, for example, Johannes Remmel the Minister for the Environment of the North-Rhine Westphalia made a speech and claimed in view of the climate change an ecological community (Ökumene). He added that the Preservation of the creation was an important duty in Christianity and in Islam.
One other mosque had a brilliant and innovative idea. The project group of the mosque in Nippes (Cologne) prepared a performance for the deaf. It was the first time that an idea like this had been realised, so lots of deaf people came to the mosque to get information about Islam in a way they could understand. The audience was very happy. Feyza Ünal, the head of the group who came up with the idea and organised it in cooperation with the association Deaf Islam said that the feedback for this program was very positive and that she had received many emails concerning the registrations for the program also during one night before the program started. She added that the interested parties were curious to see the interior of the mosque for the first time and to attend a guided tour through the mosque. After the program a participant said that she was was very pleased about the friendly atmosphere of the mosque, and that she had found the presentations very interesting, as well as the prayers.
You can watch the video about the Open Day of Mosques in Cologne (Nippes) here: