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German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed regret that COVID restrictions have separated Muslims from their families and friends for a second year at Eid al-Fitr. However, he said hope was around the corner.
Steinmeier, who is Germany's head of state, expressed hope that people would soon be able to come together
The German president wished Muslims in Germany a blessed Eid al-Fitr and expressed sympathy that they would have to contend with coronavirus restrictions for a second year.
However, Steinmeier said Germany's vaccination campaign offered light at the end of the tunnel after a difficult period.
Steinmeier, who is Germany's head of state, thanked Muslims for once again bearing the disappointment of not being able to meet in large groups since restrictions were imposed in March last year.
"Eid is a welcoming festival, a celebration for everyone, for the family of Muslims and for their friends. It is bitter that this togetherness at the end of Ramadan is not possible for the second year in a row only under the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic," Steinmeier said in a video message on Wednesday.
The president said there was hope in the form of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which has been picking up pace across Germany after a stumbling start.
He thanked Muslims for "discipline and understanding" for the fact that, once again, Eid could only be celebrated in the smallest circle this year.
"In the end, however, I do so in the hope that — as the vaccinations now proceed more quickly — the promise of fellowship will soon become a reality again for all of us after all the hardships," Steinmeier said. Germany's COVID-19 vaccination program has been picking up pace in recent weeks after a sluggish start.
Steinmeier added that in many religions, the inner contemplation of fasting is linked to the idea of reconciliation, and that this offered hope of greater solidarity between communities.
"I would hope that the time of the pandemic suffered together will bring closer together the religious communities and also the many people in our country who do not feel they belong to any religion," Steinmeier stressed.
The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan ends with the festival of breaking the fast, this year on May 12. It is known as Eid al-Fitr and, for three days, people eat and pray together. Some 4 million Muslims live in Germany.
rc/sms (dpa, KNA)