The host country of the FIFA World Cup is taking advantage of this tournament to propagate Islam. According to media reports, lakhs of football fans are being motivated to convert to Qatar. Different methods are being adopted for this. Qatar is the first Muslim country to host the FIFA World Cup. This gas-rich country is attracting football fans to Islam through its special mosque.
Dorine and Clara Popa from Canada listen to the azaan at an Ottoman-style mosque in Doha. It is known as the Blue Mosque of Doha because of the magnificent mosaic of blue and purple tiles on the walls. A guide took the couple on a tour of Canada, where a massive chandelier and sumptuous interior captivated them.
Accountant Dorinel Popa, 54, said the couple was looking into Islam. “People are prejudiced about our culture because of lack of contact with others,” he said.
The 52-year-old doctor and his wife said, “We have some thoughts in our mind, and now maybe some of them will change.” The Qatar Guest Center, which oversees the Blue Mosque, has brought dozens of Muslim preachers worldwide to Qatar for the tournament. Outside the mosque are booked in various languages explaining Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, along with Arabic coffee and dates.
World Cup is a chance to change misconceptions about Islam
Syrian volunteer Ziad Fateh said the World Cup was an opportunity to “introduce millions of people to Islam and change “misconceptions” about a religion many in the West associate with fundamentalism. Explain more about the importance of Islam and respect for neighbors and non-Muslims.”
Near the mosque, volunteers set up a table for visiting women that read, “Ask me about Qatar.” Arabic coffee is also served to those who stay near this table. Somaya, a Palestinian volunteer, said most of the questions related to “the veil, polygamy, and whether women are oppressed in Islam.”
Qatar’s record on women’s and LGBTQ rights has come under heavy scrutiny with the World Cup. Visitors can view a five-minute virtual reality tour of Islam. This campaign is being run across Qatar
Free books available in market
Many ex-pats live in the Pearl District and frequent its upmarket cafes and restaurants. Here Prophet Mohammad and his sayings have been painted on the wall urging morality. Upscale shopping malls also have advertisements promoting Islam. Thousands of fans gather every day at the Souq Waqf market. Here free books and pamphlets are left in an alley with the words: “If you are looking for happiness… you will find it in Islam”.
Near the souk, the Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Islamic Cultural Center is open 12 hours daily for tours. Some Muslim leaders in Qatar have called for efforts to convert visiting football fans to Islam.
World cup should be used for religious conversion.
Sultan bin Ibrahim Al Hashemy, a professor of Sharia law at Qatar University who heads the Voice of Islam radio station, said the World Cup should be used to attract new converts and combat Islamophobia. Hashmi told AFP that in his meetings with foreign fans, “I would offer them to convert to Islam. If I get a chance, I will readily offer them Islam, and if I don’t, I will tell them that you are our guests and our brothers in humanity.”
But he stressed that Islam does not accept forced conversions. Social media posts claimed hundreds of fans had converted to the faith, but an AFP investigation found these claims to be fake.
An official at Qatar’s religious ministry told AFP the state’s target was “not the number of people who convert to Islam, but the number of people who change their opinion about it.”
Fans said they didn’t like the idea of a World Cup adaptation. “This is a good opportunity to learn more about Islam,” said Petr Lulik, 21, who lives in Qatar with his family. “But nobody converts to a new religion during a football tournament.