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Germany's mosques open their doors to visitors

The "Day of the Open Mosque" focused on the integration of Muslim youths across Germany. Organizers said the greatest challenge for the country's 4-million-strong Muslim minority lay in addressing the needs of refugees.

Hundreds of mosques joined open house events across Germany, coinciding with the Day of German Unity - a public holiday. Germany's largest religious minority welcomed visitors to engage in open dialogue about their faith and to learn more about Islam. With cultural events and art exhibits also part of the event, Muslims shared information about their beliefs and introduced Islam to a wide audience.

The Muslim Coordination Council in Cologne said the open house events across the country focused on young Muslims in Germany and highlighted their stories. The Council had recently launched its own youth league.

Germany's Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Manuela Schwesig, who had accepted patronage for this year's Day of the Open Mosque, stressed ahead of the events that Muslim youths were an "integral part of our society."

National cooperation

The Muslim Coordination Council is made up of a number of Islamic organizations across Germany, including the Turkish-Islamic Union of Religious Affairs (DITIB), the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers, the Islamic Council, and the Central Council of Muslims. It organizes the annual open house events on October 3 to dispel common myths held against Islam.

Nurhan Soykan, secretary general of Germany's Central Council of Muslims, underlined the fact that with growing migrant numbers and a rising Muslim population, young Muslims would soon become vanguards in establishing the image of Islam in Germany. She added that in addition to their work with young people, mosques across Germany were also addressing the needs of refugees, which she said was their highest priority.

Part of Germany's narrative

The annual event began in 1997, deliberately choosing to take place on the day Germany celebrates its reunification. The Central Council of Muslims said it used this date to express how Muslims felt connected to Germany's narrative and evolution.

The Central Council of Muslims said it expected more than 100,000 visitors at over 1,000 mosques in Germany.

ss/sms (dpa, epd)

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