Bad Godesberg Muslims invite guests to a meal at Ramadan. Coletta Manemann, the Bonn Integration Officer, also visits the Mehlemer Haus and praises the work of the Haus der Generationen association.
However, Ulla and Klaus-Dieter Merzbach entered the Mehlemer House of Generations still with a little restraint. Already dozens of guests sat here at set tables, on which until then only plates with dates and water stood. Many young people, most of them with Arabic roots, were among them, young women with and without headscarves, small children.
Sanaa Elaidi, the chairman of the association Haus der Generationen, rushed to the Merzbachs and welcomed them on Friday evening to break their fast together. "We were already here when the association moved to Meckenheimer Straße. Now we are curious how our neighbours celebrateRamadan", said Ulla Merzbach. Together with her husband, she runs a butcher's shop a few houses away, which has been family-owned for more than 80 years. "It all seems very likeable here," Merzbach said after the first conversations at the table.
Meanwhile Julia Menzhausen and Abdulrahman had introduced Meawad to the evening. Muslims fasted since Monday from dawn until sunset to concentrate on the essentials: on mercy towards the poor and the weak, support for others and dialogue with Allah. This fast could be broken on this evening from 21.07 o'clock together with the non-Muslim guests. Menzhausen pointed to the richly stocked buffet in the next room. Together with Elias Malek Yahyaoui she leads the successful youth project "Ma`an" for the Otto Benecke Foundation. "We work towards preventing(ively) extremism and train mentors for it," she explained.
Since 2003 Muslims in Bad Godesberg no longer have to meet in backyards for prayer.She was assisted by mentor Yousra Madjido and explained the work of the association. Sanaa Elaidi reminded how happy many Muslim families in Godesberg's south are atnot having to meet in backyards for prayer since 2003. Since then the association has been able to open up, cooperate with the city and offer educational youth work.
Bonn's integration commissioner Coletta Manemann gladly took the floor. "It is a ray of hope for the city that your association exists. We will continue to support and accompany you," she promised. At the tables sat the local politicians Sebastian Fohrbeck (SPD), Jan Claudius Lechner (CDU) and Wolfgang Heedt (FDP), Godesbergs youth male nurse Michael Vieth and the "Rheingold" team of the Catholic Youth Agency (KJA) around Marc Hammer and conversed with the Muslims. A teacher from the Nicolaus-Cusanus-Gymnasium had come to celebrate Ramadan with his Muslim pupils. At 21.07 Mahmoud Meawad rang in the breaking of the fast with a Koransure sung in the direction of Mecca.
And also the Merzbachs got some samples from the buffet. Chicken legs were served with saffron yellow almond rice, salads, flat bread, fried fish and a Moroccan Harira soup. "The most important thing for all of us is peaceful coexistence," read Chaimaa Saddiki from a poem. "People are initially reserved when they don't know what Ramadan is about," said Ulla Merzbach.
But those who are interested in their fellow human beings can get to know them and their traditions here. "And that's a good feeling that I have here tonight." Muslims celebrate Ramadan until 5 June. The Auerberger Bündnis Integration also invites to a further breaking of the fast on 24 May at 8 p.m. in the Gemeindeforum Auerberg, Helsinkistraße.
(Original text: Ebba Hagenberg-Miliu, Translation: Mareike Graepel)