Fatih Özçelik
Translation: John Christensen

Houses of prayer

Punkt 8: Houses of prayer

In Dornbirn, guest workers were a long way from home, so pious customs like religious holidays and Friday prayers often lost their significance. Workers often drowned their sorrows in alcohol, and many had gambling problems. In an attempt to support and help the immigrant workers, imams, in addition to their religious function, practically always worked as counsellors as well. Many hoped to find inner peace through religion. But Islamic scholars were few and far between and places to practice their religion were even rarer. Large celebrations took place in a former exhibition hall, and the Friday prayers were held in small halls or rooms. Since the space in the backrooms of Turkish coffee houses was eventually exhausted, a religious association was founded. This provided a legal foundation for renting bigger rooms and one of the first of these was in the upper stories of the City Archive in Dornbirn. Even if money was not an issue, rooms were often hard to find. Neighbours would often complain because they lacked awareness of foreign customs and had no idea of what was going on in the rooms. Today there are several privately owned houses of prayer which are registered as religious associations

Foto: Tamer Barbaros

Gruppenfoto von ehemaligen Mitgliedern des ersten islamischen Gebetsraumes

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