Qatar’s Souq Waqif, Katara scale back Eid plans to show Gaza solidarity

Souq Waqif

Fadhu Clicks/Flickr

Updated on Thursday, July 24 with Katara’s announcement

Two major venues for Eid celebrations in Qatar have announced that they are canceling planned activities out of respect for the crisis in Gaza, where more than 600 775 people have been killed during an intense, 17-day Israeli bombing campaign.

Souq Waqif was the first to say that it is canceling many of its Eid events for next week. In a statement sent to QNA, the souq’s Eid Al Fitr festival organizing committee said:

(We have) announced cancellation of the Eid al-Fitr musical, entertainment activities and other programs at Souq Waqif. The cancellation comes due to the Israeli brutal aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip and the latest developments in the region. Souq Waqif will only hold children’s programs during Eid festivities.”

On Wednesday, Katara Cultural Village followed suit, saying in a statement posted on QNA that “what is happening (to) the Palestinian people is reflected on everyone.”

The move comes as restaurants at Katara and Aspire Zone have said they will donate all revenues from their restaurants on Thursday to Palestine.

Katara and the souq’s events were part of a seven-day festival being organized by the Qatar Tourism Authority to woo visitors here during the Eid holiday season.

However, when asked about Souq Waqif’s sudden scaling back on festivities, a QTA spokesman told Doha News:

“The Souq is an independent entity, and doesn’t report back to QTA. All decisions made are theirs, with no order from us. We actually found out about the cancelation today through the news like everybody else.”

Officials at the souq were not immediately available for comment.

So far, other venues for celebrations have not changed their plans, and activities are expected to take place at the Pearl-Qatar, Al Lusail shooting range, Dosari Zoo and Game Reserve, Aqua Park Qatar, Sealine Beach, Heritage Village and several malls around Doha.

Past cancellations

This is not the first time events in Qatar have been scrapped as a way of paying respect during times of tragedy.

In 2012, the Museum of Islamic Art Park canceled a concert by Emirati singer Hussain Al Jasmi, citing “critical circumstances some Arab countries are going through currently.”

Also that year, a five-day music & culture festival that was scheduled to kick off at Katara Cultural Village was also called off.

In a statement at the time, Katara said the second edition of the Music & Dialogue festival was cancelled “against the backdrop of the current political developments across the Arab region.”

And the souq itself came under pressure in 2011 to cancel its Eid events, when thousands of Qatar residents took to Twitter and Facebook to express solidarity with Muslims suffering in Libya, Syria and Somalia.

What do you think about the souq’s decision to scale back festival plans? Thoughts?

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