The district of St.Georg is the most multicultural area in Hamburg. It is also the area with the highest density of mosques in all of Germany. The central station is the place in Germany with the highest number of passers-by. 75.8 % of all teenagers in central Hamburg have a migrant background. St.Georg is thus a vibrant place and predestined for cultural interaction and exchange.
Breaking the fast together
For the 7th time, the Islamic Association hosts their Ramadan Pavilion in St.Georg and invites all citizens for a communal meal to break the fast, the ifthar. But the Ramadan Pavilion is about much more than just breaking the fast together, it is a place for everyone to learn more about Islam, and it is a way for Muslims living in Germany to show their way of living their religion.
Throughout the event, many political panel discussions are held on the stage, addressing topics such as reconciliation and integration.
“One important aim of the Pavilion is to build networks. To get to know other Muslims, but also our neighbours and to form connections that can be useful in emergencies. To build bridges, that will help you in a moment of crisis,” says one of the organisers of the event Mehdi Aroui.
“We have reached a point of no return. We live here. We have children, have our businesses. We have built roots here. It is a change of paradigm. We are here in the long-run,” he adds.
The audience at the Ramadan pavilion is diverse. Of course, Muslims get together to enjoy ifthar and meet friends, neighbours and colleagues, but also many Germans are drawn to the event. They listen to the explanations of volunteers’ historic and cultural Islamic heritage, or get to know calligraphy. Children can take part in several games and activities. On the stage a children’s choir, the Drachenkälber & Medina Kinderchor, chants songs; one of the joint efforts by the evangelic church and the Islamic association.
Drawing Islam closer
“What makes it special is that so many different people get together. It is a platform, to bring Islam closer. I am very happy to participate in this event,” says Schapur Rahimi who volunteers at the event and explains to visitors the history of Mecca and Medina, the holy sites in Islam.
The Ramadan Pavilion is also an opportunity to show and explain religious rituals, such as fasting, to German neighbours and colleagues and to invite them to break the fast. “My colleagues happily join me for ifthar here,” says volunteer Rahimi.
In Germany, during this year’s Ramadan, Muslims are fasting more than 18 hours a day, due to the long summer daylight hours.
Despite initial resistance against the event, the Ramadan pavilion is now well-established and welcomed. District administrator Falko Droßmann explains, “The Pavilion is important. We do have all main churches here. The Jewish community is celebrating Hanaka close to the Alster once a year. Therefore, it is important to also host a Muslim event here. And to show the Muslim community and to reduce prejudice. A great event.”