Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, has called on the German government to give aid to mosques struggling financially due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Mazyek said that many mosques in Germany were facing financial difficulties due to the lockdown measures and that many were on the verge of bankruptcy as they rely on individual donations from worshippers.
“Many mosques are facing bankruptcy because they lived off the collection for Friday prayers. They will soon no longer be able to pay their rents, property loan rates, or their staff,” he told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview this week.
“Unlike the churches, many of the congregations in Germany are funded to a large extent through the collections. In addition: 30 to almost 50 per cent of this income is generated annually, especially in the Ramadan period,” he added.
Mazyek said the solution to the problem should come in the form of a bailout from the German government, saying: “Mosques and their leaders have proven to be particularly responsible in the coronavirus period.”
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“They are in the districts and are indispensable institutions for our society. Therefore, the government must also compensate in the form of [monetary] compensation for the loss of revenue caused by the closure,” he said.
“If this does not happen, not a few mosques will no longer exist after the corona crisis. And with them the welfare, pastoral care, and social integration that they are currently doing for our society will disappear,” he added.
Many German mosques benefit from overseas funding, particularly from states like Turkey, which largely funded the construction of the Cologne mega-mosque that was completed in Septemeber 2018 and officially opened by Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Germany had also previously mulled the idea of a “mosque tax” that would allow mosques to be funded through the tax money and remove the need to rely on foreign funding.
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