(TMU) – In an incredible sign of the times in which we live, an IKEA in Germany gave the local Muslim community permission to use its massive parking lot to hold a huge socially-distanced prayer that involved hundreds of worshippers celebrating “Eid”, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
In stunning drone footage from the Sunday, May 24 gathering in the city of Wetzlar, near Frankfurt, masses of Muslims can be seen praying together while maintaining a safe distance, using the lanes and parking spaces of the lot to ensure that each person had their own dedicated area.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues its spread across the world, religious communities have been placed in the often-uncomfortable dilemma of honoring their faith while also respecting the strict quarantine measures, countrywide lockdowns, and physical distancing orders given by governments.
VIDEO: Hundreds of Muslims gather at an IKEA parking lot in the 🇩🇪 German city of Wetzlar for socially distanced Eid al-Fitr prayers, to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan pic.twitter.com/qG7hmibd0F
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 26, 2020
Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important Islamic holidays and a joyful occasion marked by gift-giving, charity (zakat), and enjoying good food with friends, family, and neighbors.
However, for millions of Muslims all over the world hoping to celebrate the holiday, the need to practice social distancing has prevented large groups from congregating in their mosques or in other areas whether they could gather and pray.
This all forced the Muslim community in Wetzlar to think outside of the box.
After a bit of brainstorming, the Islamic Community Milli Goruş (IGMG) decided to simply approach their local Ikea to request that they use the parking lot, which wasn’t seeing much action due to the lockdown.
Speaking to the BBC, mosque leader Kadir Terzi explained that he had his doubts before approaching the store to make the request. He explained:
“But the store manager didn’t hesitate for a second and said ‘yes, you can pray’. I was surprised and happy at the same time.”
The event was especially poignant due to the isolation his community have been plunged in for this Ramadan, which prevented the community and families from gathering to break their fast and organize charitable work. He added:
“It was a completely different Ramadan month, without contacts, without visits and without breaking the fast together.”
As a result of the event, the group has been hailed across the globe for conducting an exemplary prayer session – and the group is thanking the local community for ensuring its success.
In a statement, the mosque thanked various members of the public. They said:
“We would like to thank the Wetzlar police, the Wetzlar public order office, Ikea Wetzlar management, brothers, and all who contributed to making this extraordinary holiday prayer possible.”
In a separate statement, the mosque added:
“We congratulate all the Islamic world and the Muslims living in the world with our sincere wishes and wish our Lord to bring you many more holidays.
“We have done holiday prayer as a nation in the open air with 700 people. May my Lord always keep our unity and solidarity.”
Social media users both Muslim and non-Muslim alike have praised the event.
One person on Facebook wrote:
“What a beautiful view and what a beautiful alternative.”
While another user said:
“This makes me happy. I know some of my religious friends struggled with the lack of close physical connections during ramadan, so it’s beautiful to see a community come together in a safe way.”
For some religious leaders such as Pope Francis, weekly services were moved online to give practicing Catholics an option to tune while also observing social distances. Other faith community leaders have offered drive-in Sunday services, where congregants can remain in their vehicles and tune into services via radio. And most recently, a priest in the Detroit area used a squirt gun to shoot holy water at passing cars during a drive-thru Easter blessing.
Muslims across the world have also honored measures meant to curb the pandemic – due in no small part to the fact that centuries ago, no less a figure than the revered prophet and founder of Islam was cited as speaking on the topic of how to conduct oneself when dealing with a plague.
“If you hear of an outbreak or a plague in a land, do not enter it; but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place,” the Prophet Muhammad advises Muslims according to Sahih Al-Bukhari in the Hadith — a record of sayings attributed to the prophet that is considered of high scriptural importance in addition to the Quran.
Italian Police Use Lamborghini for Urgent 300-Mile Kidney Delivery in Just Two Hours
While Lamborghinis are typically thought of as luxury sports cars that are only affordable to the wealthy, in their home country of Italy they have long been a part of the Italian police fleet.
And while these dreamy cars may seem a bit excessive, the car was perfectly suited for a specialized task that your typical “black and white” is hardly cut out for: delivering a donor kidney overs 300 miles away in only two hours.
Earlier this month, the Italian national police posted a video on Twitter showing a police-issued Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 being deployed on a life-or-death mission to transport the vital organ from the Policlinico Universitario hospital in the Northern Italian city Padua to the Gemelli hospital in Rome.
During the journey, the Lambo soared over a distance of 500 kilometers – or about 310 miles – in just about two hours. At an average speed of 143 miles, the specialty cop car managed to trim a typically six-hour ride down to one-third of its usual time.
Thanks to the Huracán having a mighty 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive – hence its designation, LP 610-4 – the officers had no trouble meeting the moment with urgency and resolve.
And given that satellite images of the starting point in the journey don’t indicate any helipad or accessible flat area close by, the Lambo seemed like a perfectly logical option.
In the video, the baby blue Lamborghini can be seen being loaded with the fragile donated organ.
The Lamborghini Huracán de la Polizia is a highly specialized vehicle that is prepared for these types of emergency medical transport tasks, and is equipped with a small refrigerated front trunk for this purpose. It also has a defibrillator in case someone requires a life-saving electric shock while suffering cardiac arrest.
Additionally, officers who pilot the vehicle are given specific training on the race track so they can master the vehicle, which – as can be seen in this case – isn’t always used to pursue criminals.
The Huracán is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds and can reach maximum speeds of about 202 mph, according to Jalopnik.
The car, which also carries out routine patrol tasks, is also fitted out with the typical gear you’ll find in a police car, including lights, a siren, a police computer, and dash cameras.
In the tweet, the Italian Police humbly claim: “‘To save a life you don’t need superpowers,’ – solidarity, technology and efficiency also help.”
However, it remains arguable whether one could claim that a Lamborghini Huracán isn’t a superpower in its own right.
It’s not the only Lamborghini in the national police fleet, either. According to The Drive, the Huracán LP 610-4 was added to the force in 2017 as a replacement for a Lamborghini Gallardo that was decommissioned.
The car, which was the second Huracán used by Italian police, was even delivered to the police personally by Lamborghini’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“The new Lamborghini Huracán stands for Italian super sports car excellence and we are proud to provide it to the Italian State Police,” outgoing CEO Stephan Winklemann announced prior to the delivery.
Skateboarding Viral Star Nathan ‘Doggface’ Apodaca Buys New Home For His Family in Cash
For many of us, 2020 has been one of the roughest and most disruptive years of our lives.
That definitely isn’t the case for Nathan Apodaca, also known as Doggface, whose fortunes saw a sharp turnaround earlier this year when a TikTok video of him skating to work while drinking cranberry juice and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic “Dreams” went viral.
And now, the charismatic viral video star can finally call himself a homeowner.
Apodaca, 37, had been living in a mobile home before purchasing the home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The home has five bedrooms and three bathrooms, and was purchased entirely with $320,000 in cash, reports TMZ.
The viral sensation, who is of Mexican and Northern Arapaho Native American descent, had long been a staple on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, where he could be seen dancing, skating, and pop-locking to old-school tunes while wearing a big smile on his face.
His positive attitude and optimism never wavered even when he was living in an RV without running water that was parked outside his brother’s home. Apodaca earned his living working as a manual laborer at a potato warehouse, where he was employed alongside his father.
“We’ve been working ever since the pandemic, getting potatoes out to whoever needs them,” Apodaca told Los Angeles Times.
In late September, however, Doggface broke beyond his dedicated fanbase on Instagram pages like Foos Gone Wild and reached mainstream fame when his car broke down on the way to work and he decided to film himself happily lip-syncing to the Fleetwood Mac hit while sipping Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice straight from the bottle.
The video immediately went viral and spread across the internet, gaining 11.5 million likes on TikTok and innumerable likes and comments in all other corners of the internet.
The video even spiked interest in Fleetwood Mac, with streams of “Dreams” quickly catapulting the song to the top of iTunes charts as new generations got hooked on the song.
Soon enough, even Fleetwood Mac band members Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks released their own versions of the viral video.
When people discovered the details behind the video, and Apodaca’s working-class struggles, donations began pouring in from various quarters – including from Ocean Spray, which rewarded him with a brand-new pickup truck.
He also got some much-needed work on his recognizable smile, receiving new sets of veneers on his top and bottom rows of teeth while on a trip to L.A. earlier this month.
Apodaca has also appeared alongside a range of celebrities, including Cheech and Chong and Snoop Dogg – the cousin of late hip-hop artist Nate Dogg, who inspired the name “Dogg Face.”
Since going viral, Apodaca also has a following of more than 3 million fans on Instagram and 5.8 million on TikTok.
He’s also raking in money after purchasing an embroidery machine to sell shirts and beanies from his online store, including ones that feature the nickname, “Doggface,” and some of his catchphrases like “DOWN FOO!” and “420 SOULJAZ.”
However, his most special moment came this month after he proposed to his girlfriend Estela Chavez in Las Vegas while on a trip to Nobu Hotel in Caesar’s Palace.
The new family will bring together the couple, as well as Doggface’s daughters Angelica and Makyla – who turned him on to dancing on TikTok and Instagram.
NYC to Experiment Responding to Some Calls With Mental Health Workers Instead of Police
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new pilot program that will send mental health and crisis workers instead of police on emergency mental health calls.
The program is expected to begin in February and will be composed of new mental health teams from the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services unit and will target two “high-need” neighborhoods, according to Reuters.
“For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The statement went on to say that the professionals on call for mental health crises would be equipped to handle suicide attempts, drug abuse, and physical problems that are often indicators of mental health problems, all situations that police would typically respond to.
The mental health responders will be accompanied by a police officer if there is a weapon involved or “imminent risk of harm,” the statement said.
Even the most simple police encounters can be very stressful, which often makes it difficult to communicate properly. This tends to escalate the situation, considering that most police demand nothing short of complete obedience, even if they are dealing with someone who is not a suspect in a crime.
This can be scary for most people, but for someone who suffers from a mental illness and may already have challenges with communication, these types of encounters can be especially terrifying. Sadly, police across the country have repeatedly proven that they do not have the proper attitude or social skills to deal with mentally ill people. This is extremely obvious when police are called to do a “welfare check” on someone who is struggling with mental illness, only to shoot and kill the person because they didn’t “follow orders” to the officer’s liking.
A 2017 report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics used self-report survey data from inmates and found that at least 37% of prisoners and 44% of jail inmates had a history of mental health problems. A large portion of these people were convicted of nonviolent drug crimes or offenses associated with homelessness or poverty.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than the average person. According to the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.
Some US cities have already begun experimenting with sending mental health professionals out to deal with certain issues, most notably, Eugene, Oregon, which has been operational for the past 30 years. The program, called, Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS), began in Oregon, but is now currently operational in at least 8 US cities. It was estimated that the city of Eugene diverted 17% of 130,000 calls through the CAHOOTS program in 2017 alone. The program is also running in Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Denver, Vancouver, and Portland.
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