Muslims pray in Berlin church to comply with social distancing rules

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During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the Martha Lutheran church in Berlin, Germany stepped in to help by hosting Muslim prayers in Arabic and German. (Reuters)
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Muslims pray inside the evangelical church of St. Martha’s parish during their Friday prayers in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020. (Reuters)
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Muslims pray inside the evangelical church of St. Martha’s parish during their Friday prayers in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020. (Reuters)
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During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the Martha Lutheran church in Berlin, Germany stepped in to help by hosting Muslim prayers in Arabic and German. (Reuters)
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Muslims pray inside the evangelical church of St. Martha’s parish during their Friday prayers in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 May 2020

Muslims pray in Berlin church to comply with social distancing rules

  • ‘It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis’
  • ‘This pandemic has made us a community. Crises bring people get together’

BERLIN: A Berlin church is hosting Muslims who are unable to fit into their mosque for Friday prayers because of social distancing guidelines.
The Dar Assalam mosque in the Neukölln district normally welcomes hundreds of Muslims to its Friday services. But it can currently only accommodate 50 people at a time under Germany’s coronavirus restrictions.
During the holy fasting month of Ramadan, the nearby Martha Lutheran church stepped in to help, hosting Muslim prayers in Arabic and German.
“It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis,” said Mohamed Taha Sabry, the mosque’s imam, who led his congregation in prayer watched over by a stained-glass window depicting the Virgin Mary.
“This pandemic has made us a community. Crises bring people get together.”
Places of worship reopened in Germany on May 4 after being shut for weeks under a coronavirus lockdown, but worshippers must maintain a minimum distance from one another of 1.5 meters.
The church, a red-brick neo-renaissance building in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district could hardly offer a sharper contrast to the cultural center in Neukoelln where the Muslim congregation is accustomed to gathering.
“It was a strange feeling because of the musical instruments, the pictures,” said worshipper Samer Hamdoun. “But when you look, when you forget the small details, this is the House of God in the end...”
The Islamic Council, an umbrella group of 400 mosques, said in April that many face bankruptcy because the closures stretched into the holy fasting month of Ramadan, usually a vital period for donations.
The church’s pastor, Monika Matthias, said she had felt moved by the Muslim call to prayer.
“I took part in the prayer,” she said. “I gave a speech in German. And during prayer, I could only say yes, yes, yes, because we have the same concerns and we want to learn from you. And it is beautiful to feel that way about each other.”


Proteins in COVID-19 patients’ blood could predict severity of illness, study finds

Updated 1 min 7 sec ago

Proteins in COVID-19 patients’ blood could predict severity of illness, study finds

  • The markers could lead to the development of a test that would help doctors predict how ill a patient might get
  • Could also provide new targets for the development of potential treatments for the disease

LONDON: Scientists have found 27 key proteins in the blood of people infected with COVID-19 which they say could act as predictive biomarkers for how ill a patient could become with the disease.
In research published in the journal Cell Systems on Tuesday, scientists at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute and Germany’s Charite Universitaetsmedizin Berlin found the proteins are present in different levels in COVID-19 patients, depending on the severity of their symptoms.
The markers could lead to the development of a test that would help doctors predict how ill a patient might get when infected with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, they said, and could also provide new targets for the development of potential treatments for the disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 374,000 people worldwide and infected more than 6.7 million.
Doctors and scientists say those infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, respond differently — with some developing no symptoms at all, while others need to be hospitalized and others suffer fatal infection.
“A test to help doctors predict whether a COVID-19 patient is likely to become critical or not would be invaluable,” said Christoph Messner, an expert in molecular biology at the Crick Institute who co-led the research.
He said such tests would help doctors decide how best manage the disease for each patient, as well as identify those most at risk of needing hospital treatment or intensive care.
Messner’s team used a method called mass spectrometry to rapidly test for the presence and quantity of various proteins in blood plasma from 31 COVID-19 patients at Berlin’s Charite hospital. They then validated their results in 17 other patients with COVID-19 at the same hospital, and in 15 healthy people who acted as controls.
Three of the key proteins identified were linked with interleukin IL-6, a protein known to cause inflammation and also a known marker for severe COVID-19 symptoms.