The Gulf state has served as a key platform for the world to learn about Islam and dismiss all preconceived perceptions on the religion.
Former French atheist Nicolas Paul Jaeger has converted to Islam in Qatar, joining many visitors who announced their proclamation of faith in Doha over the last month.
In a video shared by Kuwaiti preacher Mohammed Al Awadi, Jaeger was repeating the shahada, the Islamic oath, after him in Souq Waqif as many passers by witnessed the moment.
Jaeger completed the shahada, which states, “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Speaking on behalf of the new Muslim convert, Al Awadi said that Jaeger had spent a good deal of time researching Islam and asked to be brought to the Muslim scholar to announce his conversion to the faith.
“He concluded his visit to Qatar by announcing his Islam […] and may you live in peace and we shall stay in touch,” Al Awadi told Jaeger in the video as he sat next to him.
In a heartfelt moment, Jaeger was embraced by his fellow brothers in Islam who took turns in welcoming him to the religion.
People on social media interacted with Al Awadi’s video, expressing their joy over the moment while welcoming Jaeger to Islam.
“Surprised by the friendliness and joy of Muslims upon his entry into the religion of God, we ask God for his steadfastness and that he be a reason for the conversion of others to Islam,” a Twitter user said.
Another said,”Our joy is that a soul has emerged from the darkness into the light. We are his brothers, and he is our brother.”
Introduction to Islam
Qatar was the first ever Arab and Muslim country to host the World Cup, where millions from all over the globe flocked to the Gulf nation for the tournament.
Numerous spectators came from non-Muslim countries with preconceived notions about the religion, rendering Qatar their entry point into an educational journey on Islam.
Curious fans were seen peeking from mosque windows and entering the places of worship to watch Muslims pray while listening to the call-to-prayer. In a viral video, a Brazilian family was seen converting to the religion in Doha, during the early days of the World Cup.
Similarly, various women visitors were seen donning the black cloak and scarf, known as the abaya and sheila, which are commonly worn in the Gulf.
The World Cup also proved to be a major opportunity to clap back at the ongoing rise of Islamophobia in western countries, and succeeded in dismissing various myths about Muslims and the religion.
The one month period saw visitors taking to social media praising the call-to-prayer and the welcoming spirit of Qatar’s population.
In scenes that were never seen before, Muslims took a collective stance against France’s endemic Islamophobia during Morocco’s faceoff with Les Bleus.
In the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, the Al Bayt Stadium shook with the chants of tens of thousands with the proclamation of faith.
The European nation has repeatedly faced scrutiny for its treatment of Muslims and immigrants, who make up at least 13% of its total population, per 2019 statistics from the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED).
Qatar was also subjected to racism and Islamophobia by the West in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Controversial French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné sparked outrage for a cartoon that featured ‘long bearded’ angry men donning ‘Qatar’ football kits while in possession of guns and knives, in what was widely seen as a racist attempt to paint the Gulf state’s national football team .
Despite the campaign, Qatar rose to all the challenges and criticism by hosting what has been widely described as “the best World Cup” the globe has ever witnessed.
Such a testament was made by world leaders, visitors, and football officials, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino.