Publish date26 Nov 2022 - 10:53
Story Code : 574586

Muslim fans unite for Friday prayer during Qatar World Cup

Hundreds of football fans united for outdoor Friday prayer outside Thumama Stadium for the first Friday prayers of the first World Cup in a Muslim country.
Muslim fans unite for Friday prayer during Qatar World Cup
In the early afternoon, muezzins across Qatar called Muslim football players, fans, officials and anyone else in the vicinity to the first Friday prayers of the first World Cup to take place in a Muslim-majority country.

And for those fans unable to make it to one of Doha's many mosques to attend prayers ahead of Qatar's match versus Senegal, authorities set up an outdoor prayer just steps away from the Al Thumama Stadium.

While having a crowd of hundreds sitting on a carpet outdoors listening to a preacher give a sermon is an unusual site for football events in the western world, Muslim fans say Qatar's World Cup has accommodated them like no other tournament, with prayer rooms inside each stadium, concessions selling halal food and no beer-swilling supporters to contend with in the stands following a stadium alcohol ban.


Yousef al-Idbari, a visiting fan from Morocco said "I came to an Islamic country to attend Friday prayer... This is what makes me happy in this competition."

During
a night-time official fan festival event in the city, the speaker announced a pause in festivities to the entire crowd to allow for the Muslim congregants to take a prayer break.

Qatar has also made an effort to feature Islam and Muslim culture throughout the first week of the tournament with sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad posted around Doha and translated into multiple languages including English.

Sunday's opening ceremony began with a female singer donning a traditional burqa, a face covering banned in several European countries, who also recited a verse from the Quran about God creating humanity into "nations and tribes" so they can get to know one another.

Some hotel rooms in the country are also offering visitors QR codes to learn about Islam, according to social media reports, and tourists visiting Qatar for the tournament were invited to learn about Islamic dress.

"For 450 million Arabs, this is something they thought they would never see in their lifetimes," Ali al-Ansari, Qatar's media attaché in the United States, said in a written statement to the New York Times.

Ridwaan Goolam Hoosen, an avid South African soccer fan, told Reuters he frequently has to leave football grounds in order to find a prayer space, including at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"You go out and you miss a team goal or you miss someone getting sent off," he said. "It feels as if this World Cup is for me, it works for me, it fits for me... This is the first of its kind like this."
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