DOHA, Nov 25 (Reuters) – As midday approached, muezzins throughout Qatar referred to as Muslim soccer gamers, followers and officers to the primary Friday prayers of the primary World Cup to happen in a Muslim nation.
On the Ibrahim al-Khalil Mosque in Doha’s West Bay, with its towering minaret and carved wood doorways, they gathered for the weekly congregational prayer that many Muslims consider is compulsory.
Among the many devoted have been followers from Tunisia, Oman and India, a uniformed FIFA official, youngsters wearing French soccer kits and a whole lot of women and men from close by lodges and tower blocks.
Unusually for soccer, Muslim followers say Qatar’s World Cup has accommodated them like by no means earlier than – with stadium prayer rooms, concessions promoting halal meals and no beer-swilling supporters to deal with within the stands following a stadium alcohol ban.
“I got here to an Islamic nation to attend Friday prayer…That is what makes me comfortable on this competitors,” stated Yousef al Idbari, a visiting fan from Morocco.
Like all the opposite worshippers, al Idbari, eliminated his footwear and filed into the mosque’s predominant prayer corridor.
Islam has featured all through the primary week of the event with a recitation of the Koran, Islam’s holy e book, on the opening ceremony and English translations of sayings and teachings of the prophet Mohammad posted round Doha.
‘THIS WORLD CUP IS FOR ME’
Nonetheless, whereas Muslims attending video games in Qatar could also be having fun with a greater fan expertise than they’ve had earlier than, it’s not clear whether or not this World Cup will change issues for them in the long term.
“Early indications are that there’s a conflation between criticism of Qatar and precise hostility in the direction of Muslims,” stated Imran Awan, a professor of criminology at Birmingham Metropolis College who’s inspecting patterns of Islamophobia each on and offline to search for indicators of a change in public opinion.
Qatar has confronted criticism from some nations enjoying within the 32-team event over its rights document on migrant staff, ladies and the LGBTQ group.
For now, Muslim followers are simply having fun with an occasion that caters to their wants.
Ridwaan Goolam Hoosen, an avid South African soccer fan, is used to having to go away the grounds to discover a prayer house, together with on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“You exit and also you miss a crew aim otherwise you miss somebody getting despatched off,” he advised Reuters. “It feels as if this World Cup is for me, it really works for me, it suits for me…That is the primary of its form like this,” Goolam Hoosen stated.
Reporting and writing by Andrew Mills; modifying by Angus McDowall and Alex Richardson
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.