“The best World Cup ever”: See how Qatar is helping bust myths about Islam & Muslim

Despite initial criticism, the Qatar World Cup 2022 has already been dubbed the “Best World Cup ever” on social media and it’s busting plenty of myths about Muslims and Islam.

Many believe that the western media, mainly European media, was unfairly critical and hypocritical in its pre tournament coverage. But even UK broadcasters are beginning to change their tune now.

ITV’s football presenter Mark Pougatch tweeted an ‘honest assessment’ of the World Cup, saying that it allowed fans from Africa and the Middle East to take centre stage and that the atmosphere was friendlier and calmer without the hostility and aggro associated with alcohol.

Despite the initial outcry about the alcohol ban, women have reported that it’s safer and better for families thanks to the ban. Ellie Molloson, who campaigns to improve match day experiences for women told The Times “I’ve got to say coming here has been a real shock to my system. There have been no catcalls, wolf whistles or sexism of any kind.”

In general, this World Cup seems to have busted many myths and has highlighted the friendliness, respect and hospitality associated with visiting a Muslim country.  

Here, we look at some of those positive stories from the past couple of weeks.  

Breaking stereotypes and showing Islamic culture

England fans tell everyone about the hospitality and friendliness of the people in Qatar.

These fans eagerly explain what they love about Qatar and the Muslim culture.

Brazil’s coach Tite gets emotional talking about how an Arab man, draped in a Palestinian flag, offered to carry his sleeping grandson to the metro. “He sympathised with us and showed us humanity.”

To help foster understanding and respect, several football fans have tried on the hijab.

Maymi Asgari, the hijabi football freestyler, who was invited to the World Cup in Qatar to break stereotypes and wow fans

Sharing Islam

Despite the opening ceremony not airing on UK terrestrial TV, many still saw Morgan Freeman and Ghanem Al-Moftah share some important Islamic messages about unity and understanding.  

Katara Cultural Village Mosque in Doha has been a key attraction for non-Muslims seeking knowledge about Islam

For the first time, Friday Jummah prayers were held outside a World Cup football game.

Meanwhile, there have been multiple stories of people converting to Islam after engaging with Muslims and finding out more about the faith whilst in Qatar.

Great moments

This World Cup has shown the support Palestine and Palestinians have around the world.  

This legend

A South Korean impressing with fluent Arabic.

And Muslims players have impressed this tournament not just on the football pitch, but off it too. Here’s Achraf Hakimi showing the status mothers have in Islam.  

The atmosphere

Muslims and Mexicans  

Muslims and the Japanese

Muslims and Brazilians

The football

Finally, we can’t finish without looking at why everyone has their eyes on Qatar in the first place – for the football. There have been major upsets and exciting games with Muslim countries at the centre.  

Saudi flipped the script first, beating one of the favourites for the tournament, Argentina.

Morocco topped their group, beating Belgium (second in the FIFA rankings) and finishing ahead of Croatia, finalists from the last World Cup.

Senegal was the first Muslim country to make it through to the last 16.

And Tunisia beat World Cup holders France.

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