The World Cup Opening Ceremony Welcomed Everyone to 'Everyone's Doha' | Savoir Flair
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The World Cup Opening Ceremony Welcomed Everyone to 'Everyone's Doha'
article REUTERS
by Jana Shakhashir 2-minute read November 20, 2022

Morgan Freeman and FIFA World Cup Ambassador Ghanim Al-Muftah kicked off the event with a powerful message on unity and acceptance, emphasizing the need to embrace multiple perspectives in a divided world.

All eyes were on Qatar last night as the world has been waiting to see how the world’s biggest sporting event will be launched in the midst of so much scrutiny. Despite weeks and months of backlash, the FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony did not disappoint. To call this World Cup a ‘tournament of firsts’ took on an entirely new meaning last night. It is the first time that an Arab country has hosted the World Cup since it began in 1930 and seeing Bedouin, Arab, and Islamic culture represented during such a venerable and global gathering is truly monumental for people in the region. 

Morgan Freeman and FIFA World Cup Ambassador Ghanim Al-Muftah opened the ceremony with a touching testimony to diversity and acceptance. Freeman began the opening segment, titled 'The Calling', describing the call to come to Qatar, saying “Instead of seeing it another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way. And now, the world feels even more distant and divided. How can so many countries, languages, and cultures come together, if only one way is accepted?” 

In the name of every Qatari, we welcome everyone, to everyone’s Doha.

Al-Muftah then responded with a verse from the Qur’an about diversity. ‘O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.’ 

This was the first time a Qur’an verse was recited during a World Cup Opening Ceremony, and by someone as inspiring as Al-Muftah. The 20-year-old Qatari was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder that impairs the development of the lower spine. He defied all odds and lived past the 15-year life expectancy doctors gave him, becoming an inspiration to many. He continued to surpass expectations by climbing Jebel Shams, the highest mountain peak in the entire Gulf region, in 2019. He also plays football wearing shoes on his hands alongside his able-bodied friends.

In the name of every Qatari, we welcome everyone, to everyone’s Doha.

article AFP

Al-Muftah then responded with a verse from the Qur’an about diversity. ‘O humanity! Indeed, We created you from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may ˹get to˺ know one another. Surely the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous among you. Allah is truly All-Knowing, All-Aware.’ 

This was the first time a Qur’an verse was recited during a World Cup Opening Ceremony, and by someone as inspiring as Al-Muftah. The 20-year-old Qatari was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare disorder that impairs the development of the lower spine. He defied all odds and lived past the 15-year life expectancy doctors gave him, becoming an inspiration to many. He continued to surpass expectations by climbing Jebel Shams, the highest mountain peak in the entire Gulf region, in 2019. He also plays football wearing shoes on his hands alongside his able-bodied friends.

The performance that followed paid tribute to Qatar’s Bedouin DNA, centered around the ‘bayt al sha’ar’ or tent used by Bedouins, a symbol that is at the heart of Bedouin and Arab culture and that inspired the design of the stadium. The tent declared the tournament open to all, as FIFA said, “Football allows us to come together as one tribe, and the earth is the tent in which we all live.” The cultural references did not stop there. The traditional “ardha” dance was incorporated into the performance before Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim made his welcoming speech, beginning with the Islamic prayer phrase “​​Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim” or “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,” which opens every Surah in the Quran. “How beautiful it is for people to put aside what divides them in order to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together at the same time,” he said, closing with “In the name of every Qatari, we welcome everyone, to everyone’s Doha.”



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