The Related Press, with bureaus throughout the globe, put collectively a terrific explainer underneath the headline, “Islam in Qatar defined forward of FIFA World Cup.” It is a must-read for editors and reporters in addition to followers and guests. Right here is the way it opens:
Qatar is a Muslim nation, with legal guidelines, customs and practices rooted in Islam. The nation is neither as liberal as Dubai within the United Arab Emirates nor as conservative as components of Saudi Arabia. Most of its residents are Sunni Muslim.
Qatar’s strongest clan originates from the Arabian Peninsula’s landlocked inside, the place the Wahhabi ideology was born. Its nationwide mosque is called after the 18th century non secular determine, Mohammed Ibn Abdul-Wahhab, who spurred the ultraconservative interpretation of Sunni Islam often known as Wahhabism.
Guests to this mosque and others in Qatar are requested to decorate conservatively, with males masking their knees and girls ideally donning loose-flowing robes often known as abayas and headscarves.
Not like Saudi Arabia, the place adherence to Wahhabism led to strict segregation of single women and men, banned girls from driving and saved 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 comfy within the nation. It additionally permits the sale of alcohol in licensed resorts and bars.
Whereas fundamental explainer journalism has gone a great distance in making an attempt to assist readers perceive Qatar, this simply isn’t sufficient.
There must be extra context with the assistance of Islamic sacred texts and quotes from students and imams. There was little to no English-language journalism that includes one of these fundamental religion-beat reporting.
This omission has led to the usage of Qatari authorities officers having to explain to everybody what their nation will or won’t do. It mechanically places them on protection, usually filling a response quote — usually drawn from a web-based info web site — in a information story or characteristic that’s already been written. The quote is simply one thing to place in the direction of the underside to current “the opposite aspect.”
An estimated 1.5 million worldwide guests are anticipated to journey to Qatar for the 32-nation event, though many LGBTQ followers say they don’t seem to be going to make the journey. That’s an essential story that has been properly lined. The opposite story that isn’t is what do Qataris consider the World Cup coming to them. Are they keen to welcome the world? We all know that the officers say they’re. Are Muslims cut up on such social points? I’ve to suppose they’re — however that story hasn’t been reported on as of but.
In a second explainer, the AP — underneath the headline “Touring to, round Qatar throughout FIFA World Cup” — centered on tips on how to get round and what to see. This part caught out:
Exterior of the event, Doha has a number of cultural websites to go to. Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Artwork presents each fascinating views inside its galleries and a view exterior of the town’s skyline. Close by is Doha’s Souq Waqif, which has conventional storefronts and presents on the market — together with even a falcon part. The Nationwide Museum of Qatar, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, is a tackle the desert rose. Qatar’s Nationwide Library is also famend for its design. Doha’s Mall of Qatar has some 500,000 sq. meters (5.3 million sq. ft) for buying. There are additionally beachfront resorts and tour corporations supply journeys into Qatar’s desert expanses as properly.
It is clear that Islam, its beliefs and tradition shall be a significant a part of this World Cup. These explainers are of use to readers and followers as they are going to be to vacationers – particularly the 1000’s of journalists from across the globe – who will descend on Qatar to file tales over the course of the 29-day competitors.
A lot of the protection has been vital. A lot of that comes from the truth that Qatar was given the World Cup by FIFA at a time when the soccer’s world organizing physique was rife with corruption. Coupled with the Center East’s conflict of Western mores and a misunderstanding of faith that has created a singular set of circumstances by no means earlier than seen forward of such a large sporting occasion.
I wrote a bit about this at Faith Unplugged again in December 2021, 11 months forward of the event, that pinpointed the next:
Qatar has come underneath hearth over the previous few years within the lead as much as the 2022 World Cup primarily for its abuse of migrant staff used to construct the stadiums that shall be used all through the month-long competitors. Past that, the most important subject stays what to do about consuming and LGBTQ rights. Homosexuality, for instance, is punishable by flogging and imprisonment.
Australia’s Josh Cavallo, a defender who got here out as homosexual in October, mentioned he could be afraid to play on the World Cup in Qatar due to the Gulf nation’s ban on homosexuality. Qatari officers have mentioned they’d be open to followers of all sexual orientations however anticipate them to respect norms that frown upon public expressions of affection.
Not everybody within the Islamic world has expressed such openness. For instance, retired Egyptian soccer star Mohamed Aboutrika mentioned homosexuality is “not appropriate with Islam.”
“Our function is to face as much as this phenomenon, homosexuality, as a result of it’s a harmful ideology,” he added, “and it’s changing into nasty and persons are not ashamed of it anymore.”
Among the many many points, conflicts surrounding sexuality will nearly definitely be, for many journalists, an important.
Whereas we anticipate many gamers from Western nations to talk out in opposition to Qatar, what about these from nations in South America, Asia or Africa the place mores could also be extra aligned with the Gulf state? I consider Brazil, a crew loaded with working towards Catholics and evangelicals? What about Iran, a nation that may be a Muslim theocracy the place a latest hijab controversy that concerned the demise of a younger girl spilled over to their soccer crew?
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