Growing up in East Germany, shortly after the fall of the wall, there was not a lot of ethnic diversity around me. Many people I met in my daily life thought I would be Turkish or Arab because that were the only “dark” foreigners that they knew from TV. Once I remember an older lady stopping me in the streets saying that I looked like I just jumped out of an Arabic fairy tale and she meant it all seriously. As a kid, I did not know how to answer to this kind of comments.
It was only years later when I moved to Berlin that I realized how free I felt all of a sudden in a city where nobody was stopping me in the streets to ask which fairy tale I just came from. The city was full of colorful unicorns and sparkling birds of paradise wandering around without restrictions, that I suddenly had the feeling of belonging and acceptance.
But even in a city with such a high diversity and multi-ethnicity like Berlin, it is sometimes way too easy to hang around only your type of unicorns. In time I learned that it takes more to appreciate another culture than just to visit an exotic restaurant or hang around a shisha bar. I think it is a question of respect to learn about the traditions and habits of the cultures and the people we are sharing the city with. For a long time, I had only superficial knowledge about the customs and traditions of Muslim people, even if they cross my life in so many ways. Since I started working at Blogfabrik that has a mosque directly in front of its windows, the traditional religious life of Muslims is now closer to my mind. And I am really thankful for it. Because nonetheless how critical you might be about certain religious practices or even extreme positions. Only with a bit of knowledge, we can start a conversation and maybe even a constructive critical dialogue.
The girls and guys from the YouTube channel Datteltäter have a similar opinion. In their videos they share opinions and knowledge about the Islam in a funny way. The latest video got some huge viral success. In the video they are literally flying with a magic carpet through Berlin and talking to the pedestrians about Ramadan and the tradition behind it. As if they just jumped out a fairy tale, right? 😉 Now I wish I would have a magic carpet too.