Fatima Garcia donned a scarf and a black abaya — an extended, loose-fitting gown — over her garments as she walked right into a mosque in Doha to find out about Islam.
In Qatar to benefit from the World Cup with associates, the Salvadoran customer took a break day from soccer to go sightseeing on the Katara mosque, the place preachers have been introducing Islam in a number of languages to curious followers from all over the world.
“Qatar is my first publicity to Islam,” Garcia mentioned inside the home of prayer, also referred to as the blue mosque for its lovely turquoise tiles. “Qatar has been a life-changing journey as a result of it offers you a perspective on completely different cultures.” A whole bunch of 1000’s of holiday makers have come to Qatar in the course of the World Cup. For a lot of it is their first go to to a Muslim nation. Those that do not enterprise far past the stadiums and Doha’s glitzy accommodations may have solely restricted publicity to the nation’s faith, comparable to listening to the decision to prayer at a distance or witnessing Muslims prostrate at prayer rooms in stadiums, airports and accommodations. However for many who are curious to search out out extra about Islam, Qatari authorities and non secular officers are keen to assist.
Native mosques are providing multilingual excursions to guests and the Islamic Cultural Heart in Doha affords a digital actuality tour of the holy metropolis of Mecca. Cubicles at vacationer websites hand out free copies of the Quran and brochures about Islam can be found in lodge lobbies. Billboards have been arrange throughout Doha that includes U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammed and different Muslim personalities as a part of a marketing campaign encouraging folks to discover Islam.
“Why in the course of the World Cup? Everyone seems to be coming right here from the world over to Qatar, a Muslim nation, and it is a possibility to coach folks concerning the religion,” mentioned Abu Huraira, a volunteer for the marketing campaign by the Discover Islam Basis and the Islam & Muslims Initiative.
Qatari officers say they hope the match will assist present guests with a greater understanding of their tradition and that of the bigger area.
Qatar follows an ultraconservative type of Sunni Islam referred to as Wahhabism. However not like neighboring Saudi Arabia, the place adherence to Wahhabism led to strict segregation of single women and men, banned girls from driving and stored concert events, cinemas and even yoga off-limits for many years, Qatar has lengthy sponsored the humanities, allowed girls to take part in excessive ranges of governance and inspired vacationers to really feel comfortable. The World Cup host, although, has confronted intense criticism over human rights points, together with the remedy of migrant employees, and accusations of “sportswashing” or trying to make use of the occasion’s status to remake its picture.
Qatari officers have argued that the nation’s progress and achievements are being missed. The ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, mentioned a number of the criticism in opposition to the primary Arab and Muslim nation to host the World Cup included “fabrications and double requirements.” The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and the host nation’s Supreme Committee for Supply and Legacy didn’t reply to requests for remark.
Again contained in the ornate Ottoman-style Katara mosque, Riffat Ishfaq, a information from Pakistan, advised Garcia that it was designed by Turkish inside designer Zeynep Fadillioglu, whose first title is the Turkish type of the title of the eldest daughter of the Prophet Muhammed. The tiles had been handmade, Ishfaq mentioned; the columns have been coated with leather-based and the domed roof contained gold. By the top of the tour, Garcia additionally realized why girls gown modestly in Islam and the origins of the faith.
“We wish to inform folks about Islam. We really feel delight in our identification,” Ishfaq mentioned, earlier than telling Garcia to maintain the abaya as a parting present. “This helps to dispel misconceptions.” Close by, Sergio Morales, a Guatemalan who had come for the entire match, completed listening to a tour and walked out of the mosque to a sales space positioned on the entrance the place he requested for a free copy of the Quran.
“In the present day I took an interest as a result of the guided tour was in Spanish and I may perceive all of it,” he mentioned. “There ought to be guides in Spanish in each mosque as a result of there are such a lot of Latin American folks coming to those nations.” Cubicles with free Qurans and booklets introducing the faith in a number of languages are additionally accessible within the winding cobbled alleys of Souq Waqif, the capital’s oldest bazaar the place shops hawk spices and perfumes, scented oils and silk scarves.
Simply steps from there, World Cup guests walked into the spiral-like constructing of the Abdullah Bin Zaid Al-Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Heart, for a tour and a go to to the mosque, the place folks gathered for Friday prayer.
Carlos Bustos, Mireya Arias and their sons, 8-year-old Jacobo and 13-year-old Matias toured the cultural middle. The Colombian household learn data on massive placards concerning the contributions of the Islamic world to drugs, science, math and structure. “What we have seen is that they’ve made an effort to alter the picture that we’ve within the West of seeing Islam. It is breaking that barrier,” mentioned Carlos Bustos, who alongside together with his sons had wearing conventional Qatari garments.
“They’ve advised us that we’re very completely different however we see extra similarities than variations,” he mentioned.
His spouse, Mireya Arias, admired the devotion of Muslims to their religion and the way they comply with the decision to prayer. She additionally appreciated the efforts made by Qatar to introduce guests to Islam.
“They’ve used quite a lot of methods to get nearer to guests, for us to grasp and be taught,” she mentioned. “Whenever you’re on the buses that take you to the (World Cup) stadiums, you level to a QR code and it offers you explanations concerning the Quran.” Doha’s Museum of Islamic Artwork additionally affords glimpses into non secular beliefs and rituals. Guests can learn concerning the 5 pillars of Islam — the career of religion, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and hajj or pilgrimage — or find out about hajj rituals and completely different funerary practices within the Islamic world.
“The extra you perceive this Islamic tradition, the extra fascinating it’s,” mentioned Jose Antonio Tinoco, a Brazilian museum customer, who wore his nation’s soccer jersey.
“Crucial a part of the museum for me was the half on Islam.”
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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