Finding a new home in Islam – Why a young man from Herford (Germany) converted to Islam


(please bear with us – Google translate from German being used).

Herford. The years after 2000 were troubled. Parental divorce, comprehensive school Friedenstal, vocational training year, training as a hotel manager, working in various five-star hotels. “There must be more,” said Lars Rottmann. He has found it in Islam and the Ahmadiyya Muslim community who want to build a mosque at the Maschstraße.


Ahmadiyya Muslim Community: The Muslim Reform congregation has about 120 members in Herford. Your church building they had first in the youth center “The 9”, for several years they are in Schützenhof.

Convert: This is a person who is new beliefs, religious traditions and customs takes.

Ramadan: The Islamic fasting is the time at which the faithful may only eat and drink before and after sunset.

Breaking the Fast: For the first dish is called after sunset during Ramadan.

A balanced young man sitting in the cafe in the Old Market, sipping his juice and quietly tells his life. Of the paternal authority that was lacking after the divorce of the parents, the orientation and the limits that he missed. “As a child, you get told when you have to be home,” he says. It was sometime past. “And I thought: It can not be that everyone does what he wants.”

In his confirmation year in 2004/2005 Rottmann had his first contact with Islam. In his eighth grade there was a classmate: Tahir Ismail, the current spokesman for the Ahmadiyya community Herford. Sometime Rottmann met him in the city. “What are you doing today?” The question was answered as the young Muslim, like no other in his class had done it, and Rottmann has still amazed. “I’m going to ‘pray’

Rottmann wanted to see that. “Because I wanted it himself,” said the 25-year-old. “I have always been interested in other cultures.”

The first encounter with the Muslim community was unusual: Rottmann was the focus, everyone wanted to know why he was there. And everyone was happy that he wanted to watch them when they pray. Young people were touched by the attention. But when verses from the Koran were recited in Arabic, the young guest thought that was “a little ridiculous” and so funny that he covered his face with his hands, so that the others did not see that he was laughing. They however thought he was praying – and were very impressed.

After leaving school in the 10th Class he lost the classmate from his eyes. However, Rottmann always returns back to Herford, and so they met again in 2010 and after that met frequently. “It was always something special,” says the young man who lives with his Protestant girlfriend in Lucerne today. They were eating or swimming, they did not depend in pubs, but designed leisure.

Also from Switzerland Rottmann phoned often with his friend. “He gave me a lot of guidance when I had difficulties.” In his early professional years, Rottmann could not get used to working conditions in many hotels. Tahir then tried to find solutions, in his view, explained how he approached things. “In an interview he said, ‘You know, when I have so many problems, I’ll take five minutes and pray to God then I feel better’..” Young Protestant promised nothing, tried it but still. And it helped.

Between two hotel jobs Rottmann went for the second time with the Muslims at prayer time – and then again and again. Tahir explained to him rituals and faith conceptions. “Because I wanted to learn it, he has not forced it on me,” said the hotel manager. It spoke to the coexistence in the community, common prayer, the open arms who received him, the “unconditional love”.

Last year Rottman gave his vows of fidelity (Bai-at) in front of more than 30,000 believers and the Caliph from, the chosen spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya. “It was an emotional moment for me,” says the young man the Caliph was only two feet in front of him. He had felt as he rested his hands in it, “almost like an angel.”

On this day Rottmann also acknowledged the ten Bai-at-rules. This is not to eat pork and drink alcohol, not to live beyond their means, to give people something of themselves and not to be considered women with sexual ulterior motives.

“I wanted to lead a life as what I had before,” said Rottman. A life that was turbulent, in which he had neglected the family and put his own needs in the forefront.

After the vow of fidelity Ramadan followed – and thus Rottmann had a hard time. A time in which it was often difficult to concentrate and took him to his physical limits. But also a time that brought him closer to Islam. For because Rottmann has no Muslim family, he was often invited to break the fast at Tahir’s family. There he underwent an intensive cooperation in the faith.

The Islamic rules impose many boundaries: women and men in the community avoid the handshake with each other to allow no erotic feelings to arise between them by touch. Sex is for procreation, not the fun.

His faith had changed him, says the convert. At least three times a day he prayed. Meanwhile he was considering before criticizing someone. “I used other very hurt with my reproach.”

And on the way to the bakery he was open to a conversation with the people he meet. Then he speaks sometimes even just someone to. “Some people have no one to talk to them,” he noted. “You should not even consider you with disrespect.”

His girlfriend sometimes roll her eyes when he is offering an old woman to cart push up the slope. But “what we’re here people that we help each other,” says Rottmann

Original article in German:

Lars Rottmann – he found his spiritual home in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

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