With reporting from Riham Sheble
A recently posted YouTube video of a young group of Qataris who are helping to rebuild a school in Brazil has drawn the ire of some nationals, in part because the female travelers were not dressed in the traditional abaya and headscarf while on their trip.
The seven Qataris – three men and four women – are spending 21 days in the South American country as part of a Vodafone Qatar-backed initiative to help people in the remote Amazonion village of Ararinha.
The adventure is part of Vodafone’s “global firsts” program, which urges societal contributions while helping to create unforgettable memories through the use of technology.
In addition to the attire issue, critics have targeted Vodafone for hosting a mixed-gender trip, and the women themselves for traveling abroad without their families, which detractors said was a violation of Qatar’s conservative Islamic principles.
However, other Qataris have rejected that perspective, calling it “backwards” and “hogwash.”
Criticism began circulating this week after Vodafone posted a video of the volunteers’ first day in Brazil on its company Facebook page.
The brief clip, which has now been made private on Youtube, showed all seven trekkers walking through Doha’s airport and then Brazil’s, sharing how they felt about the journey. Most said that they were tired and that the flight was long, but they were happy to have reached Brazil safely.
On Facebook, many commenters zeroed in on the attire of the female Qatari volunteers in the video. While in earlier videos from Doha, the women were shown wearing traditional dress. Footage of them landing in Brazil, however, showed that they had removed their abayas and headscarfs.
The post went up on Tuesday, but was deleted on Thursday after sparking a number of surprisingly harsh rebukes, including:
Translation: They neither represent Qatari youth nor Qatari tribes. May they not return (safely).
A number of commenters responded to the remarks by saying that attire is an individual choice, while others warned that the journey’s cause was being forgotten:
Though the Facebook post has been taken down, Qataris have continued the conversation on Twitter, under the hashtag #فودافون_تسيء_لأهل_قطر (Vodafone insults the people of Qatar).
Once again, there were many remarks critical of the trip itself and how the women were dressed:
لاشك بأن هذا البرنامج تسويقي من الدرجة الأولى، ولا أقول سوى "تباً للتسويق الذي يقوم على حساب قيمنا وتعاليم ديننا"#فودافون_تسيء_لأهل_قطر
— يوسـف بن عبدالله الخليفي 🇶🇦 (@yyqtr) August 13, 2014
Translation: This is undoubtedly a promotional program. To hell with marketing that is done at the expense of our values and the teachings of our religion.
وأن صحّ خبر أن من بالفيديو ( أقطريات ) فأتوقع أن لكل شخص أهل يحاسبونه ، دعوا الخلق للخالق #فودافون_تسيء_لأهل_قطر !( http://t.co/fhDNZC2BqC )
— عمر اليافعي | 2022 🏆⚽️🇶🇦 (@Qa6ri) August 13, 2014
Translation: Even if the women in the video are Qatari, they have parents who can set them straight. Leave people alone.
Translation: To organize such a gender-mixed trip that is not in keeping with our conservative society is indeed an insult to the people of Qatar.
But several people also disagreed with the critics:
ماشفت شي يسيء لأهل قطر
واذا على البنات .. من الاخر اي بنت فصخت عباتها على سبب غير مقنع ماعتبرها قطريه..
— م/سعد الدوسري (@Qtxri) August 13, 2014
Translation: I haven’t seen any insult to Qatar. As for the girls, I don’t consider any girl who incomprehensibly abandons her abaya Qatari.
People may not like what they are doing but to attack those girls and defame them is utterly disgusting #فودافون_تسيء_لأهل_قطر
— Yousef Fakhro 🇶🇦 (@yousef94_) August 14, 2014
Vodafone has also responded to the wave of criticism, telling Doha News in a statement:
“We fully respect our local culture and the seven Qatari youths, who we refer to as Adventurers, have been selected from a number of nominations.
They have travelled to Brazil with full parental consent and they are accompanied by senior expert trainers as they volunteered to be part of this journey. These senior experts are there to give all the necessary guidance to the group and ensure their full safety. They are challenging themselves to achieve something they never thought would be possible.”
Vodafone is not the only company in Qatar that has unintentionally inflamed some local sensibilities in recent years.
Shortly before National Day in 2012, Ooredoo (then Qtel) quietly removed a YouTube clip of a flash mob it organized at Landmark Mall.
It included Qatari men doing traditional dance, women lip-singing patriotic songs and expats breakdancing all at the same time as a huge crowd looked on.
It also showed locals and expats almost engaging in a kind of dance-off – a scene that a few nationals labeled “disgusting.”
Also that year, the talent show Arab Idol canceled auditions in Doha after criticism from the Qatari community, despite support from many residents.
Each time, there was mixed reaction in the local community, suggesting shifting perspectives on what it means to be Qatari amid a push for modernization and the prevalence of international influences in the country.
The seven Amazon Adventure volunteers, who are between 17 and 24 years old, are about a third into their trip, and will remain in Brazil until Aug. 28.
They will climb one of the nation’s highest mountains, SugarLoaf, hunt for meals and make their own fires and shelter at night. This week, they will arrive in Ararinha.
Here, the youth will fulfill the main purpose of their trip – to build a school from the ground up, with the help of the local community.
The school, which burned down six months ago, served as the sole educational facility for three remote communities. Some students would take a canoe for around an hour to attend classes.
The volunteers will help rebuild the school to accommodate some 300 students, as opposed to the previous 90. They will also work to construct a village center where locals can host celebrations and ideally attract tourism to their remote area.
The names of the those taking part are: Mohammed Al Shammari, Leila Al Tamimi, Aisha Al Naama, Tameem Walid Al Hammadi, Noor Al Muhannadi, Maqdeem Al Naama and Mohammed Adel Al Naimi.
They are being led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, who last year became the first Qatari to climb and raise Qatar’s flag at Mount Everest’s peak.
Al Thani has dedicated a number of physical challenges to charitable causes and is also leading 12 Qatari youths up Mount Kilimanjaro in October to raise funds for Gaza.
Vodafone Qatar is tracking and sharing the trekkers’ every experience with the public through social media. Since launching the project mainly on YouTube, Facebook and a dedicated website, the company said that videos have received a total of some 11,000 likes, 100,500 shares and one million views.
Commenting on the recent removal of the criticized video from Facebook, a Vodafone spokesperson simply said:
“We share a variety of content on different channels so it might differ depending on the channel.”
I never cease to be amazed how a
certain section of Qatari society are so obsessed with how women dress. The control these people try to exhort over
these women’s choices and bodies must be suffocating. I’m assuming the male students
on this trip aren’t wearing thobes – why aren’t they being criticized by the
same people going on about their “conservative culture.” It’s
good to see these young people have their family’s support and I’m happy the
students – male and female – are out in the world experiencing new things.
Nothing but good can come out of such trips.
Will these same critics say the same words about all the Qatari women happily traveling to Europe for vacations who don’t wear abayas and don’t cover? I doubt it.
Is that the Emir?
Good to see Qatari men and women becoming strong, experienced, civilized, well educated and creative individuals. They only have one life and it is their life and it is solely their decision what to do with it. This country needs worldly wise people that can look left and right, judge people by the contents of their character and make wise decisions for the future. The more young Qatari men and women I meet the more confident I become in the bright future of this country.
Are you commenting on this article or talking generally? Because the story does not convey the image you are giving us about Qataris. In some aspects it actually conveys the opposite of what you said.
It is sad to see people insulting these girls for not wearing the attire they like. What people miss here is that those girls have families and their families are happy with that.
And for those Qataris who claim that the girls do not represent Qatar, can you please tell us more about what makes one represent ot not represent Qatar? Is there a definition for that? These girls are free to say they represent Qatar as much as you are free to say I like ice cream. Both statements have no legal basis and are simply freedom of speech. So threatening to sue Vodafone because it calls them Qatari ambassadors is beyond ridiculous.
If they went against culture n religion, then they lack the knowledge of both of it, hence the parents should be held responsible and not the children. However there are so many in qatar itself who do not follow what is taught. It is better to criticize n correct ourselves first before we criticize n correct others.
Are you blaming the parents because their brain washing was not complete?
Too much in this part of the world do I see people screamin at others telling them what they should and should not do. It’s an individual choice, so let them make decisions for themselves. It’s nobody’s business but theirs.
Mimh. An atheist wont under stand the meaning of culture n religion.
Blindly accepting religion is just as bad.
Agree. Follow it 100%. Im against what they have done. But at the same time people should not interfere because there are so many in daily life who do the same.
I understand what you are saying but can I ask if you are Qatari? If you are not then why would you object?
Thank you for understanding. I respect ny religion but im not 100%. It is not about qatari or indian or xyz. It is about how well you respect islam.
Where in Islam does it say that women must wear an abaya. Also religion is for the individual and codes should not be forced upon people. If you want things forced upon you or women then there is a place in Iraq you may like.
Both are equal in islam and there r dos don’t for both.. who follows 100%. Astagfurullah
both? Pls explain.
Huzz..join me on facebook then i will explain…this is not islamic group
Quran – Surah Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) Verse 59.
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women
of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies
(i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the
way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free
respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever
Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Thanks, I will look this up.
May Allaah Guide you to the best of knowledge, ameen
vinod agree….but it is both men and women who should follow…DN should post an article for DOS and DONTS before publishing this article
I hope this doesn’t come across as disrespectful, as I am not anything close to an Islamic scholar, but where are you getting the parts in parentheses? I looked up the verses online that you quoted and they don’t include those parts. Is this your personal interpretation (i.e. that Jews = fools, hypocrites, pagans?)? Or are there multiple versions of the Quran and I might be looking at a different one? The site I looked at (http://quran.com/33/59) simply tells women to bring down part of their outer garments. In a half full/half empty argument one could interpret that to say they should be half or partially naked, not just leaving enough for one eye to peek through. Also, this link uses the word abused in place of annoyed. To me, this is where many of the world religions get into tussles within (and outside) their ranks: faith based on ancient scriptures, where many translations and various interpretations can cause people to view the same text wildly differently, thereby causing major conflict.
Noted you are not a scholar. http://thenoblequran.com/ & http://www.noblequran.com/translation/index.html are sites what i recommend as there are many other resources that are faked or twisted. The Noble Quran is the exact to the print from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Having said that, I ask you if you are a Muslim? If you are, then you should know, but for the benefit you and others; what is in between these brackets are the works of scholars who have studied Islam and all related books for over 10 or 15 years with which explains the traditions and practices of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) and best understood by his companions. And also as Arabic is a rich language, the translation needs more than that said to make clear in other languages. The Quran can be only explained by the one it was revealed to. If you are not a Muslim, this is too much for you to understand the sciences of Hadeeth, time of revelation, intended specificity or generality each verse was revealed upon. I hope and pray you and the sincere readers will learn more about the final message (Al Islam) from recommended sources.
I feel like you just proved the point I made at the end of my last comment. I am not Muslim, so granted, I don’t know much about Islamic history and theology and changes in that theology through time. You provided two sites for Quran reference, saying that others can be fake or twisted. That view I can understand, as you are entitled to the version you feel is most accurate. But what would you say if I told you I was a Muslim scholar from outside KSA and then told you that the link I referred was the true source and your links were the versions that were faked and twisted? Would I then be “less” of a Muslim to you because we don’t claim the same interpretation? Trying to read your last post with a logical lens:
* “…Arabic is a rich language, the translation needs more than that said to make clear in other languages.” –> If you don’t speak Arabic, you won’t understand it.
* “If you are not a Muslim, this is too much for you to understand.” –> If you’re not a Muslim, you won’t understand it.
* “…the works of scholars who have studied Islam and all related books for over 10 or 15 years…” –> If you haven’t spent at least a decade studying the Quran, you won’t understand it.
* “…and best understood by his companions.” –> If you weren’t BFFs with the Prophet, you won’t understand it.
* “The Quran can be only explained by the one it was revealed to.” –> If you aren’t the Prophet, you won’t understand it.
I’ve heard all of those statements by other people at other times, so I guess my underlying question remains….which man can say that they definitely understand it? Who’s actually right? And what makes one man’s understanding of it better than another’s who may be interpreting it in a completely opposite manner? Since no one alive was around when the Quran was written, is the best you can do now to study for 10 to 15 years and hope you understand it correctly? Who has the final word (myriads have claimed they do)?
I think this question is at the root of the problem described in this article. Everyone has their own slightly different view of the world, so everyone interprets the Quran with a slightly different lens that feels “right” to them (unless they refuse to think for themselves and just take what ever is spoonfed or forcefed to them). And when people lash out at others they don’t think are following their faith in the “correct” manner, like many people have towards the four girls on the trip to Brazil, feelings get hurt. (And please don’t think I’m using this to insult Islam. I grew up in a Christian home being taught Christian values, and I have a LOT of similar questions about the Bible and the changes in how it has been and continues to be interpreted.)
Anyone knows that the Quran printed in KSA are the best, so try not to put theologian confused mind on trying to deceive people.
Since you claim a Christian, what qualifies you to chose the right books for learning Islam?
I will not even try to address the rest of your confused writing, Please for your own sake, Seek knowledge from the people of knowledge (this site has simple reading material for all walks of life http://www.salafipublications.com)
please do your self a big favor.
Did you even read the “rest of my confused writing?” I’m not trying to deceive anyone or choose any books for Islam. Never claimed to be. I’m simply trying to learn something about another faith and keep an open mind, and I’ve been trying to do so in a respectful manner. I wish you would try and approach the conversation with a respectful attitude and open mind as well. Your tone is very condescending, implying that others lack knowledge and understanding, essentially implying that they (me included) are idiots, and that you hold the key to all essential wisdom. It comes across as very arrogant and close-minded. I believe that this attitude is why many come to Qatar with an honest desire to learn and appreciate and respect the local culture and heritage, but end up cynical and jaded, eventually expecting the kinds of responses described in this article.
Please understand that I’m simply trying to apply logic in an attempt to make sense of what I take in from the world around me. Since your post was apparently “too much for me to understand” I was attempting to clarify and also ask a couple questions that might shed light on the topic of the article. I enjoy a good theological/philosophical/meaning-of-life discussion, but if, as you claim, I’m too dumb and confused to understand, then why should I waste my time?
I’ll make you a deal Mr. Vinod: I’ll take some time and look through the last site you just posted. In return, I would challenge you to take a few minutes (or hours) to sit and think and ask yourself why you believe what you believe. Don’t go easy on yourself and allow yourself scripted or quoted answers, but really try to approach it with a fresh and open mind.
Dear Sincere seeker of good, I understand your view of logic, our physical mind is the closest adviser we have, which relates to us true or false on anything. If we continue to present each other with half glass of water is equal to half empty glass of water, I think we will go on and on till the cows come home.
So, to continue and to get pass this stage am going to describe an event. Just a bit before that, you know that we Muslims wash our hands, face and limbs before approaching prayer (Salah), and if one of us were in a pair of socks he may pray in it after having to wipe over it with wet hands.
Now what would you understand by wiping the top of the socks, should it not be the bottom of the socks that may have dirt to purify? I presume as humans, we would think it’s the bottom of the socks that should be wiped with wet hands. But No. Islam teaches us to wipe the top. Because this is religion that was sent down from above the seventh heaven (by Allah) and religion is not of the mind. In other words, if we were to decide what to do at any juncture (while Divine knowledge is kept aside), we would think good and bad in a logical way. Right? But when it comes to Divine revelation that was completed, then one should give precedence to Divine knowledge other than ones own thinking. Do you agree?
This is why I didn’t want to run in circles, thus directed you to material of knowledge. With this I meant no disrespect to you or your beliefs, but simply to go forward in life.
Ummm, at no point did Chilldog claim to be Christian. You have made a very funadmantal error of interpretation.
i understood him from his words
“I grew up in a Christian home being taught Christian values, and I have a
LOT of similar questions about the Bible and the changes in how it has
been and continues to be interpreted.”
was I, really wrong?
Growing up in a home imbued with certain values does not mean that you have chosen them yourself. You don’t have enough information to know what Chilldog believes. Many people consciously reject the values of their childhood.
If there was anything wrong in my understanding then, he is best to shed light on the matter. Don’t you agree?
No. It would be best if you didn’t make assumptions on limited evidence. That leads to problems and misunderstandings. Don’t you agree? Why do you believe that the poster is a he, btw?
Recommended by who? The King of Saudi Arabia? Surely you know he cares only about his own power on this Earth and not about the sanctity of religion. Western cultures learned the hard way that mixing religion with government pollutes religion and corrupts government.
You mean the other way around 😉
here is the proof to what you said.
But, But, But, it will be better for you to know ‘La ilaha Ilallaah’ before anything else.
Trying to convert me?
NO !, None can guide you except Allaah alone.
Quran – Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Verse 142.
The fools (pagans, hypocrites, and Jews) among the people will say, “What has turned them (Muslims) from their Qiblah [prayer direction (towards Jerusalem)] to which they were used to face in prayer.” Say, (O Muhammad ) “To Allah belong both, east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a Straight Way.”
When people are happy they never thanks allah swt, only then when they are sad tensed or depressed that is when they think of Allah swt. So where ever or whatever always know that allah is watching you
says who? ahahahah so much BS ’round here…
Man get over it, its their choice so let it be just let people be is it that hard to do
You must be joking with such a comment !! Have you taken a look at your profile picture !? From your picture…I cnt make out what religion or culture you are and you have the nerve to say others donot know culture or religion !!??
Atheists generally understand most religions more than the religious. Religious people only read one holy book, while atheists have read more than one. Culture is not religion so has no direct relation to atheists, expect they are part of the human race and culture affects them also.
Every human being is born with a religion, even urself. But you choose to be an atheist. ; )
What???? Please elaborate in this thinking in detail.
I disagree with you. Gender and eye color are things that you’re born with. I don’t think that a human is born with a religion any more than they are born with a language or a favorite movie. In most cases, religion is imparted as a byproduct of ones upbringing or developed through an intesnse period of study and/or soul-searching. Like Ivan asked, can you please elaborate on your insight? (Because you actually contradicted yourself by stating that he’s born with it and that he also made a choice.)
I feel my IQ points drop everytime I read a comment of yours. You sir are a true “Genius”.
I think you are 100% Correct in this, but if you had an oozing lot of IQ, am very positive you would have never felt it. Am i right Khan?
every human is born with a brain, but it is up to you to use it or not!
It is even better to just mind your own business…
Precisely. Once conservatism meant to live as you liked and to let others do the same. Somehow or another the 20th century changed that.
Saeed Khan… Well said bole toh kya baat kya baat
This is for you.
Oh DN, if you are going to post everything “a few nationals” complain about, then you’ll need to quadruple your staff.
Additionally, ROTA and HBKU organise charity and community trips every year, mixed gender and mixed nationalities. Stenden University organised a similar trip as well to South Africa years ago.
Or are you posting about this because it helps showing those nationals as traditions-crazed people to intrigue a discussion?
We decided to write about it because the discussion online has engaged so many people – there are hundreds of tweets on the subject, and the feedback was strong enough to cause VF to remove their Facebook post. It’s an interesting discussion, and involves a lot more than “a few nationals” complaining.
VF Qatar is well-known now to have weak consumer interaction experience and they always look shaky when taking a step in any promotion, maybe due to the lack of good local experience of their team in that area.
So for them to remove a post because they angered a few nationals does not surprise me.. only supports the above statement.
I wouldn’t say VF has any weaker PR and “consumer interaction experience” than the country’s 5ish-star national airline, who continually puts their foot in their mouth. Good for these kids, and hopefully they can rise above the criticism!
For what it’s worth, I support DN for writing about this! It is indeed a very interesting story with interesting comments. Keep up the good work!
I think it’s great these kids are out in the world doing some good for others who need help. They certainly wouldn’t be very helpful building this school if they were encumbered by abayas and thobes. I wish more Qatari kids could have experiences like this. Don’t judge them by their wardrobe but by their actions! Their families and their country should be proud.
Remember Little House in the Prairie? What was Laura’s attire? What were the girls wearing at that time? What didn’t they do? They were running, hopping, jumping, swimming and playing in the water, climbing mountains and hills, farming all with the same feminine dresses that they used to wear. They did all this with dignity and this was how the western society was at that time until some sick minded individuals came with concepts that women needed freedom, and the first thing they waged war against is the dress of the women. Why?
Very strange indeed that people are made to believe that Girls can’t do things with Abayahs and Jilbaabs. Abayahs and Jilbaabs are not meant to stop the girls from things that they can do which will bring benefit rather it is an honor that is given by their Lord that elevates her in the eyes of the society and protects her from those who have some corruption in them.
Jilbaabs and Abayas are just not only mere clothes it is so comprehensive that it reflects the feminine, modest behavior inwardly and outwardly.
Ask the people who wear, whether it really stops them from any beneficial fun that they want to have?
You are correct. Those who founded the US were extremists too. Thankfully some changed.
You sounded reasonable until….
“until some sick minded individuals came with concepts that women needed freedom”
Err excuse me freedom is a basic human right whether you’re Male or Female!
I’ll also think you’ll find that dress code was hardly the first thing that women complained about, maybe you should read a little on the Suffragettes for instance….
Just to make my statement clear, freedom that I meant here was that the concept of freedom is uncovering and not displaying femininity. This was the sick concept that was brought to the society by individuals. As for freedom in general yes it is a right, but we as muslim women were given this right with honour 1400 years ago. And by the ‘mercy of our Lord we do not need men to give us that freedom.
which country are you from originally? Are you a convert?
I am not a convert.
Little house on the Prairie was set in Minnesota not the Brazilian Amazon. Can’t remember Laura walkin thru the rainforests ……………by the way, Freedom is not a “Concept” it’s a birthright for every human being.
I do not see any big difference in what women can do in Amazon rain forests and in the prairie. The point is girls can do what is beneficial and in the right manner which does not go against their natural ability while still wearing such dresses.
Freedom is a right yes. And it was given to Muslim women 1400 years ago in a society where women were enslaved and had no dignity whatsoever. When Islaam came to such a pre islamic society in Arabia it gave the women rights that no other civilization saw, gave dignity, gave honour, gave self esteem, gave protection. This is the right the Muslim woman still has today and will continue to have.
What I meant by the concept of freedom is the man made freedom for women which was brought by some individuals which meant covering yourself and concealing your beauty is discrimination and imprisonment. This is the concept. Whereas true freedom is giving honour and dignity to the women with rights and responsibility. This freedom was given by The Creator already. Again we do not want men to give us this freedom or bring a new meaning for freedom.
The right manner for whom? Now their whole trip is already ruined by the explosion of media interest. They will not remember the great time they had, just the drama they are coming back to. Not sure why Doha News printed their names either. That’s not going to help them much. As for “Giving” freedom to anyone for whatever reason, it’s just plain wrong.
Why do so many women feel shackled by it then? I flew Doha to Paris on QA and the lineup to the ladies bathroom was at least 10 deep. Abayas go in, tight jeans, tight breast enhancing tops, perfume that would suffocate a small animal and makeup so thick you couldn’t tell the person underneath, emerge out. Is being Qatari lost as soon as you depart? Are you no longer Muslim when abroad? Is honour and dignity not important in France or London? Is it just worn in Doha for peer pressure, to avoid the fellow women sniggers? Will someone report back to your family you were immoral? Why are these women keen to ditch it as soon as they get a chance?
Good question. You have explained what you see in the society, keep in mind that there are many more women who wear do not fit in to your description. See it’s incorrect to have bad behavior in a society but why do most people display this bad behavior? This does not make the bad behavior acceptable right? It’s almost the same just because many women display as you see this does not mean that the wearing of abayas and Jilbaabs should be left.
The main reason for such display is lack of knowledge and how this was cultivated. For example when the Messenger of Allaah ( May peace be upon him) came to the ‘makkan society that society was full with immoral behavior, such as alcohol, fornication, etc etc.
with all this he never stopped any one of them from drinking alcohol first. Rather the law that prohibited alcohol was revealed only after he migrated to Madeenah which is 13 years after his prophethood. So while people accepted the islamic faith for thirteen years they were still allowed to drink alcohol. Why? For thirteen years the Muslims were first taught of their creed, belief, the love they should have for their Lord, what is prepared for them when they understand and actualize that no other deity has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and many more. Only after they understood this dos and donts in a society was revealed. So by then they had enough knowledge to understand and accept the dos and donts which in fact only benefit them and the society.
So if we follow the same example then you will know that why so many women are happy with Jilbaab and Abayahs and understands the wisdom behind it.
I think the point Curiosity Killed the Cat is trying to make is that if Abayas are in fact “freedom” to the wearer (as you state) then why is the wearer to eager to get out of it once on the plane? That is an indication that wearing it is something IMPOSED on them versus a freedom or gift BESTOWED to them.
I think you missed my point. The answer I wrote is for the question why? If the Cultivation was correct as I mentioned above or if the intention of wearing was correct with correct understanding then this would not happen. If you read my answer again you will find why some women want to get out of it. If the basics are not firm then getting influenced by “Concepts” is easy!
Its so obvious that Abayahs and Jilbaabs are Divine Freedom as another person automatically respects a woman who is covered in Jilbaab even in a society that is corrupt!
No I think you missed the point…
You may think its necessary and a divine freedom to wear an Abayah but obviously a lot of Women don’t! As Expat Girl said why do they remove it at the first chance they have.
You may automatically respect someone who wears an Abayah, but that is hardly a universal trait as you say. I respect someone who treats me and other people with respect and I couldn’t give two monkeys what they are wearing. People such as yourself who demand that I respect their beliefs, while at the same time dismissing outright everyone else’s do not get much respect from me I’m afraid!
I really don’t understand why people even think they have a right to criticise these girls? You are not their parents, (who have indicated that they are completely fine with whats going on) so how is this any of your business?
The Emir’s mother who actually officially represents Qatar and does so very well if you ask me, doesn’t wear an Abayah. And yet I don’t see people criticising her on twitter.
Completely agree Turbohampster. Not to mention, I watched the short little video, and these girls are wearing full pants and long sleeve shirts, still very conservative in my view. These look like such sweet girls, and I’m so proud of them, I hate that anyone would criticize them 🙁
I think you really did miss my point! My reply was for Rebecca’s statement ” They certainly wouldn’t be very helpful building this school if they were encumbered by abayas and thobes.”
I did not get involved in the conversation to criticise or applaud these girls. My intention to get involved is only to explain that women who wear abayahs and Jilbaabs can still do what is beneficial without being have to take them off. And to emphasise that women who are in Abayahs and Jilbaabs are in fact happy and honoured by it. As for the individuals mentioned here then yes thats none of my business and if they happen to be mine and I had control over them the way I would have dealt is yet again upon the methodology prescribed.
So I ask you to look for the point and benefit!
The fact that you would even state “if they happen to be mine and I had control over them” to me demonstrates that we will not be able to come to a level of understanding with each other, so I won’t waste too much time trying to accomplish that.
But the simple fact is that YES wearing an abaya while constructing a school in the Amazon would in fact hinder their efforts and would encumber then. Not only that, it would present several safety concerns and would not comply with internationally recognized PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for such a task.
Expat Girl, I think you are still very very immature in understanding, there is lot more to Abayas and Jilbaabs than PPE International standards! All the best for you in your learning and I hope one day you will understand and demonstrate maturity after gaining knowledge and acting upon it!
Umm….. okay, thanks for your best wishes. Maybe one day I will grow up and decide to ignore the personal safety of individuals working in the construction industry.
Umm, I think your argument is extremely weak and not well thought through. I will concede that there is more to Islamic clothing than Int’l PPE standards, but these standards are in place for a good reason. They have been developed to help protect people in potentially hazardous work conditions. With all the construction projects currently underway all over Qatar (and the steady stream of bodies being shipped back to their original countries), I would hope that the general population is not as ignorant to this concept as you seem to be. I personally work with countless Muslims, male and female, in industrial sites all over the ME, but none of them will attempt to enter an industrial site hoping that a gutra or hijab will protect their heads better than an appropriate hard hat. You may consider Expat Girl to be immature, but I guarantee that anyone walking onto a job site not wearing proper PPE will be the one seen as immature, regardless of their religion. In some companies it could even cost them their job.
You are exactly right Chilidog.
To expand on your point for Umm’s benefit; even worse than costing their job, it can cost people their lives. Loose clothing around power tools or machinery is a recipe for disaster; the clothing can get caught into the machinery causing injury or death; I’ve heard of far too many cases of scarves getting caught in equipment and causing strangulation. Very tragic and 100% preventable.
So Umm, when it comes to constructing a school in the middle of the Amazon while wearing an Abaya, all I can tell you is that I would strongly advise against it out of concern for the heath and safety of the wearer. Of course, you are free to make your own decision on the matter.
My argument may look weak to you, may be because you did not understand what I am trying to get across. I am not talking about safety and other things, I only want you to understand that people who wear abayahs and jilbaabs after conviction as to why they choose to wear, then those people know exactly what they should do and what they shouldn’t do, When I said Abayahs and Jilbaabs are lot more than PPE standards it means that the wisdom behind wearing these are lot more than PPE. as I said this is difficult for a person who does not wear to understand so its best to accept that there is another set of people who are much contend with these attires and they know what is best as they have experienced the good in it.
Pretty impressive: you’ve managed to be called ignoramus by two different people on the same message board on the same day! I can only claim once (so far) on this article, so I must need to work on my game….
Keep it up. For what it’s worth, I for one appreciate your contributions grounded in logic and positivity. Since apparently abayas and thobes are perfectly acceptable garments for slashing through a jungle, what about swimming? I’d hate to try and keep my head above water in one of those things…
Thank you Chilidog!! Your game is great, so no need to work on that, I always enjoy your comments! Gosh I sure have caused a bit of a disturbance today, not intentional, but while we are on the subject, do I get overtime for that? Thanks for your nice words 🙂
When is the last time you went into a rainforest in an abaya or Jilbaab ? Easy to preach, harder to practice.
True easy to preach and hard to practice, but there is a big difference between a person who wears the Jilbaab out of conviction as to why that person is wearing and for what reason and a person who does not wear. so its kind of difficult for the other person who is not wearing to understand and comprehend how people can walk through rainforest and more. Its something natural and I understand all of your thoughts on safety and other than that. Its with great concern I know, and I appreciate it, but I ask you to look into those who are content with Jilbaabs and abayahs and humbly request you all to respect and accept that they still can do what they like to do as long as that is beneficial for them.
you sound like a really fun mum brrr
Thanks, you can ask my daughter if you get to meet her about the fun we have and things we do as a family and how much she looks forward to enjoy what is beneficial.
I wonder where I mentioned that I demand respect, in fact I am more than happy with the honour and respect given to me by my Lord and those who are people of understanding.
Am afraid I do not need any respect from people who conclude matters without understanding. If you look at my statements I am only trying to make it very clear that its not what you think that all women in Abayahs and Jilbaabs are unhappy and unable to do beneficial things that they like to do.
As for your beliefs as non Muslim I do not see me anywhere dismissing outright. And if a Muslim women is not in abayah or Jilbaab then that does not give me the right to dismiss her outright either rather she is still my sister in Islaam and she has rights that I must give her and likewise I have rights that she must give me. Islaam is a way of life and why people tend to go wrong is because of not understanding and lack knowing that way of life.
A lot of women do take it off so they can “fit in” to the country they are in. If they were truly being forced to wear it then why do their fathers and husbands even allow them to take it off in the first place? People who are forced to wear hijab wear anywhere they go.
have you ever been in Latin America and mainly, have you ever been in the Amazon rainforest???
I think it is easy to speak from here, in your comfortable air conditioned house (do you step from your car right in front of any mall without walking?).
If you knew the Amazon, you would know that apart from being very humid, you have to walk comfortable and mainly you have to be properly dressed not to get your clothes stuck on anything and no insect/animal that could sting you. Abayas are not famous for walking in a remote Amazon village!
Let me inform you, that prairies are generally covered with high grass, so sturdy boots and ankle long dress might be ok., if not comfortable.
Rainforest is covered with everything – grass, bushes, climbing plants and so on. You don’t walk it, you hack it with machete.
You might very well get cows to pastures in long skirts – but you can’t safely and efficiently climb ladders in it.
You want to cover – be my guest. But if you want me to admit that you have more honor, or dignity in that attire – sorry, that’s rubbish. And as to protection, why don’t you ponder about raped girls in Iraq? Or those “married” by force? Somehow dress did not protect them, right?
It’s fair that women can wear whatever they like – including abayahs and jilbaabs. But such a worldview must include the idea that women can equally reject those based on their own individual principals. Country, religion, family, and tribe shouldn’t have a say in their choice – just advice they can accept or reject.
See, all this depends on that person’s religious belief. Nothing can be forced upon an individual. If the person has accepted and submitted to a religion then what it means is that person has submitted to every single principle of that religion. People can leave it, no issues, (a muslim knows the consequences and the muslims also knows that when he leaves something what is prescribed then His Lord is Merciful that he still can repent and do what is expected) but to say that principle has flaws is what is not acceptable as we as Muslims believe that Islaam is a complete religion and its laws and regulations are for all ages as surely the Lord who revealed these laws and principles knew what will happen in every age and time. Its simple as that!
Nothing can be forced upon an individual? What about a law against a laborer having a drink of water while working in the heat during Ramadan? What about the pamphlet police in the malls? What about not being able to to order a beer at Red Lobster? What about a woman having to cover while visitng KSA? Sometimes it appears and feels forced to me. (Cue the LIOLI rebuttals….)
To me it all comes down to how you personally interpret the verses, and this is based on your experiences, personal study, and what you’ve been taught. You obviously believe something (i.e. interpret the verses) different about Islamic dress than the families of the girls in Brazil. Who’s to say that you’re right and they’re wrong? Or they’re right and you’re wrong? How do you konw? Should we put it to a vote? Who should be allowed to vote? DN commenters? Qataris? Islamic scholars in KSA? Muslim countries? The whole world? And if the most people side with you does that mean you win and are “really” right? Is alienating the “others” worth “winning?” My point is that you’ll obvioulsly find varying opinions depending on who you ask, and that’s what makes the world such an interesting place to explore!
In my opinon, there are infinite ways to interpret even things that seem to be clear cut and simple, not just in Islam or in Qatar, but all over the world. People believe different things, and not enough respect is paid to others’ beliefs universally. Humans tend to stick together with other humans that they generally agree with. I have no problem with this, but if you stick too closely to your own kind, you’ll never be challenged and never have any idea about how to respectfully and intelligently defend your beliefs or even know why you believe them. In a separate thread on this message board I almost had my head bitten off for asking honest questions (respectfully trying to learn) and suggesting that someone spend some time challenging their own beliefs. Again, I have no problem with agreeing to disagree. But the problem in my mind is when people or groups begin to impose their belief system on others. This can be anything from reaction to how Qatari girls dress in Brazil, to the “relatively insignificant” items I mentioned in my first paragraph (would the prophet approve of laborers being paid pennies if at all and dying of thirst and overheating just so Qatar can build a prettier or bigger “fill-in-the-blank” than what they have in Dubai?), or all the way up to like what is going on in Iraq/Syria. That’s when it’s crossed the line from a religion to being an oppressive and sometimes deadly power trip.
This reminds me of the song Belief by John Mayer. Give it a listen
Nice. I’ve never really listened to Mayer much, but I looked up the lyrics (all I can do at work) and I like them, especially: “Is there anyone who really recalls ever breaking rank at all for something someone yelled real loud.” There’s a lot of yelling at these kids over a belief, and none of it is making anything any better in Qatar or Brazil…..
Guess this is Reflect your respect campaign jumping continents!!!
Gosh it’s sad, they battle us expats and then even turn on each other in an attempt to retain cultural identity. I assume then Sheikha Mozah receives these harsh words too as she is photographed often without traditional dress. I thought she was well liked? Good on these young people, don’t be intimidated by these people. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, clothes don’t make you a good or bad Qatari.
Qataris who criticize and insult those youths should also be aware that they’re indirectly insulting the mother of the Emir, Sheikha Mozah, who’s the most elegant lady I’ve ever seen and who DOES NOT wear a abaya whenever she travels worldwide to represent her country…
She is such an elegant lady isn’t she, I think she is absolutely fabulous!! I think she is a great role model for Qatari young ladies, actually for any lady for that matter. You bring up a great point in mentioning her in relation to this article and these young ladies. My heart breaks for these girls and the attacks they are getting from their own community. They should be applauded not condemned!! Unbelievable…
Yes, I can just see it now, Thobes and Abayas hacking through the Amazon. That they are Qatari’s in their hearts and minds is enough for anyone to be satisfied.
As a person who has done a lot of hiking in my youth I can confirm that I have never seen or heard of anyone wearing an abaya or thobe while going through the forest. Perhaps Bear Grylls could be contacted for his opinion.
I’m sure these cultural conservative Qataris, (otherwise known as oppressors of others, especially women) are the minority in Qatar. Every society has holier than thou types who think they can dictate to the masses through shame and intimidation. Let’s just ignore these relics of a by gone age.
After all the international media focus on WC 2022 bribery allegations, the issues of the exploited laborers, the alienating of Qatar by most of its immediate neighbors, the accusations that Qatar is funding terrorists, etc., none of these issues trouble them on how they may be represented abroad as much as how some Qatari girls dress in Brazil.
Good to see they have their priorities in order.
I find this story very upsetting and a poor reflection on some people living in Qatar. Despite all the criticism of the country from all quarters here we have some young Qataris going out into the world and doing something to help those less fortunate than themselves. A bright light in all the darkness surrounding the country and something that everyone here should be proud of seeing, both Qatari and expat alike. What we get however are some members of society who feel threatened that their strict control over people is being eroded. Well guess what – it is. As the years roll by you will see that you have less and less control and heavens above, people will think for themselves and express themselves. This is the price of development and education. It is not being westernised but being free, free to have the choice of what to wear, who to see and where to see them. It does not erode Qatari culture but adds to it and introduces new elements that will allow the country to engage with the modern world. I might wear an abaya (not me personally) today and jeans tomorrow – my choice. Looking back into Qatari culture and history I do not see whiter than white thobes and designer abayas being driven around in Land Cruisers, I see very poor people with very ordinary clothes. So what has changed over the years? As the revenue came from hydrocarbons the clothes changed, the transport changed and the attitudes changed. We find ourselves today with very different people to those who lived in this desert 100 years ago. This change cannot be stopped and it will continue at an ever increasing pace. So to these young people I say well done, rock on and I am sorry that I am not there with you on this adventure. Don’t worry, we have your back here in Doha.
Very elegantly put. Cheers
Fantastic comment Huzz!! I think these kids are AMAZING and I am so proud of them!! Hearing about young adults going on a trip like this gives me hope for the future and absolutely warms my heart. Unfortunately, hearing how much this trip (and the individuals) are being criticized very quickly makes that hope disappear.
This should be a happy, inspirational, human-interest story that would make even the grumpiest of people smile, but instead it has somehow turned into a controversial story plagued with judgement, contempt, and condemnation of 7 very inspiring young men and women. I’m shaking my head in disbelief…
Not only am I sad for the 7 on this trip, but I am sad for other youths who have a similar open-mind and giving-heart who may be deterred from doing a similar trip in fear of a potential character assassination that could ensue.
Society desperately needs more people like these kids!! Yes, ROCK ON kids! Keep doing what you’re doing: keep living life, loving people, helping others, experiencing adventures, learning different perspectives, being independent, and generally being an AWESOME human being who contributes to society! Don’t let the negativity get you down; just by being on this trip you have already demonstrated you are the type of person who can rise above that! WELL DONE!!
yes, vodafone should have simply deleted the hateful posts and reported the users to facebook for hate speech
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Everyone of my Ummah
will enter Jannah except those who refuse”. He was asked: “Who will
refuse?” He (ﷺ) said, “Whoever obeys me, shall enter Jannah, and
whosoever disobeys me, refuses to (enter Jannah)”.
الثالث: عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: ”كل أمتي يدخلون الجنة إلا من أبى ” . قيل: ومن يأبى يا رسول الله قال: ” من أطاعني دخل الجنة، ومن عصاني فقد أبى” ((رواه البخاري)).
May I know what is the pointing of posting these verses here?
We all need to know and to be reminded at all times. This is called Naseeha (reminder or advice). It instigates us to check ourselves if we are in line with Islam (or the code of conduct taught), so a sincere worshiper reminds himself not to go out of the boundaries of Islam. From this i hope you know why the post was put here.
This is not a religious website, so such reminders are not necessary and not appropriate.
Quran – Surah Adh-Dhariyat (The Winds that Scatter) Verse 55.
“And remind (by preaching the Qur’an, O Muhammad ) for verily, the reminding profits the believers.”
My intend is to remind myself first and the believers, that the Best of speech is the Speech of Allaah (Quran) and the best examples are the examples (sunnah) of Prophet (may peace and blessing be upon him) in every action they take.
Perhaps you don’t know that culture, cloths and manners in this region (ME) are all connected to Religion.
Expact Girl, Let me give you another one.
Quran – Surah An-Nisa’ (The Women) verse 65.
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad )
judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no
resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full
Like they say when in Brazil live life like the Brazilians do. Perhaps they could also get some fresh ideas from the exposure to the the Brazilian culture and their way of life
so because of these men and women Qatar is on the news for something positive and this is how we react…..fantastic
It is rather sad. At least they are trying to do something positive with their lives.
poor kids, say well done and leave them alone, live your life as you wish and stay out of their business, they didn’t hurt anyone, quite the contrary
I’m a student in one of the universities at Qatar Foundation and have been to one of service trips that HBKU organizes every year. Our group included Qatari students and most of them were extremely glad to be able to give something back to the society. One of the Qatari female student is one of the smartest and most intellectual person I’ve come across.
Instead of criticizing them, people should praise everyone in this group for temporarily giving up the comforts they’re used to and going outside their comfort zone. Its a pity that for these four girls, the overwhelming negativity surrounding their trip will always overshadow their experience and more importantly, their contribution to the society.
Mohammed Al Shammari, Leila Al Tamimi, Aisha Al Naama, Tameem Walid Al Hammadi, Noor Al Muhannadi, Maqdeem Al Naama and Mohammed Adel Al Naimi.. Well Done !! And to those who seem to have a need to hijack a good deed …. it just proves how shallow your thinking is. An attire and religious belief does not make you Qatari.
People are free to dress however they wish. But it always amazes me how women in Qatar and the rest of the gulf feel the need to totally disregard hijab when they go to a western or non-arab country.
While you don’t see women from other countries doing the same when they come to gulf countries. They may wear longer shirts or skirts but they dont drastically change their attire.
maybe this is not a typical Western/non Arab country…..it is the Amazon! Plus, imagine walking in abaya in any downtown city of Brazil, people would stare at you and you would not feel comfortable at all. C’mon!
I think you are confusing hijab with abaya. Hijab can still be achieved without wearing abaya. The girl holding the camera is in hijab. Abaya is a cultural piece of clothing. Hijab is covering one’s hair and body.
I know the difference, but anyway weren’t they criticized by their whole attire?
My comment wasn’t necessarily directed at these group of Qatari women in Brazil. But it was an observation of how it is part of the gulf culture to discard hijab when outside of the gulf to fit in with locals. Yet women from other countries don’t feel obligated or pressured to wear hijab or local dress when going to the gulf.
At the end of the day people are free to dress the way they want.
the dude ‘Ali Al-Khulaifi’, engaging in hate speech online, is actually working at ICTQatar, well done…
Nasser Al-Mannai: “They neither represent Qatari youth nor Qatari tribes. May they not return (safely).”
Assuming that the translation is accurate, you actually posted to the world that you wish for these young people to die simply for not wearing the clothes you like? That’s an awful thing to say and you are a terrible human being.
Anything that annoys people like this is a good thing in my book.