FIFA World cup in Qatar, a good opportunity to fight Islamophobia
RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – FIFA world cup in Qatar as an Islamic country is provided Muslims with a golden opportunity to change minds in Islam.
As “AFP” reported some Muslim leaders in Qatar have called for efforts to convert visiting football fans to Islam.
Sultan bin Ibrahim Al Hashemi, a professor of sharia law at Qatar University who heads the Voice of Islam radio station, said the World Cup should be used to find new converts as well as counter Islamophobia.
Hashemi said that in his meetings with foreign fans: “I will offer them to convert to Islam.
“If I find the opportunity, I will offer them Islam with ease and grace, and if I do not find the opportunity, I will tell them that you are our guests and our brothers in humanity.”
But he stressed that Islam does not accept conversion through coercion.
Social media posts have claimed that hundreds of fans have changed faith.
An official at Qatar’s ministry of religious endowments told AFP that the goal of the state was not “the number of converts to Islam, but rather the number of those who change their opinion about it.”
Fans said they found the idea of World Cup conversions absurd.
“It is a good opportunity to learn more about Islam,” said Petr Lulic, a 21-year-old Croatian in Qatar with his family. “But no one embraces a new religion during a football tournament.
Proudly Muslim Qatar has taken advantage of the World Cup to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of visiting fans to change minds about Islam or even make conversions.
The Gulf emirate is the first Muslim nation to stage a football World Cup and its gas riches have endowed it with an array of grand mosques to pique the curiosity of visitors.
Syrian volunteer Ziad Fateh said the World Cup is “an opportunity to introduce millions of people to Islam” and change “misconceptions” about a religion that many in the West link to radicalism.
“We explain to people more about ethics, the importance of family bonding, and respect for neighbors and non-Muslims,” he added.
A Palestinian volunteer, Somaya, said most of the questions concerned “the veil, polygamy and whether women are oppressed in Islam.”