Friday, January 27, 2023

Fan style draws praise and criticism in Qatar

DOHA ( Associated Press) — In a World Cup marked by political controversy, it’s no surprise that fan style in Qatar has sparked controversy.

Forget the classic shirts with the colors of the national teams. The streets of Doha have turned into chaotic fashion runways.

Fans around the world reinterpret the traditional headdresses and tunics of the Persian Gulf countries. Western women have tried the hijab. English fans don Crusader costumes. Others with more activist profiles have sent their message with rainbow-colored paraphernalia in a country that criminalizes homosexuality.

The fan style has sparked everything from amusement to outrage among residents of the tiny Muslim emirate, which had never experienced anything quite like the spectacle of a World Cup.

Most popular among foreign fans is the ghutra, the distinctive head scarf worn by the men of the region.

Gavin Coetzee, 60, admits his costume could be misunderstood and even deemed ridiculous if he was photographed at a Halloween party in his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa . He asked a tailor to sew four African flags onto a ghutra and an Arab tuff, a long, flowing tunic that Qatari men wear in nuclear white.

“I wouldn’t wear it in a western country,” he said, referring to the region’s greater cultural sensibility. But surprisingly, his suit has created a sensation and admiration among the locals in Qatar.

The narrow streets of the capital’s central souk Waqf are lined with vendors selling ghutra in every country’s colors, from Brazil’s brilliant blue, green and yellow to the red, green and white Mexican tricolor. Carefully adjusting the fabric over the fan’s head in the so-called cobra style worn by Qataris, vendors iron and fold them to create a widow’s peak effect.

“I wanted to immerse myself in the culture. It’s fun to try new things,” said 41-year-old Ricardo Palacios of Venezuela, wearing a red and white checkered headdress. Somebody gotta wear it.”

According to what he said, the only complaint the Qataris have at the moment is “I don’t know how to fix it.” Some stopped him on the street and changed clothes properly. Similar videos have become popular on social networks.

Naji Al-Naimi, a Qatari national who sits on the board of directors of Majlis Al-Dama, a lively coffee and backgammon joint in Doha’s open-air market, said he didn’t mind seeing dozens of foreigners dressed in their national dress. On the contrary, he believes the trend is cute and comparable to what Gulf citizens wear on their trips to Europe wearing jeans or suits.

Even among non-Muslim visitors the hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf as a show of mercy to Allah, has become a trend during the World Cup. Across the internet, videos show foreign women covered in colorful headscarves on the streets of Doha saying they feel confident and beautiful.

But there are other costumes that haven’t been so well received, most notably the Crusader costumes of some English fans. The costume, with chain mail armour, a plastic helmet and a shield with a cross, is a nod to the Christian conquest of the Holy Land between the 11th and 13th centuries, which pitted Europeans against Muslims. During the group stage, stadium security prevented him from entering the stadium dressed like this.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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