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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Qataris’ Amazon adventure to continue after Vodafone withdraws support

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With reporting from Riham Sheble and Shabina S. Khatri

Local telecom provider Vodafone-Qatar has announced that it is no longer supporting an ongoing charity excursion that it initiated, after fielding harsh criticism from members of the community.

However, the Amazon adventure is expected to continue as planned.

This month, seven young Qataris – three men and four women – have been trekking their way through Brazil to arrive at a remote village and help rebuild a school there that recently burned down.

Through hunting for meals, making their own fires and shelters and climbing a mountain, the volunteers have been putting their survival skills into play for the past 11 days.

Part of the adventure involved sharing the journey through photos, videos and tweets.

But a YouTube video post last week sparked ire in the Qatari community after some of the female participants were shown not wearing abayas or headscarves.

Criticism of the mixed-gender trip, which some said violated Qatar’s conservative Islamic principles, has steadily grown since then, developing into a debate about Qatari identity amid a push for modernization.

And yesterday evening, Vodafone-Qatar’s board chairman announced that it was no longer backing the initiative. In a statement, the company said:

“This decision to completely withdraw from this project and cease all kinds of support to it reflects our Chairman H.E Sheikh Dr. Khalid Bin Thani Al Thani’s commitment to seeing Vodafone Qatar providing the best services and initiatives that are suitable to the norms and values of the Qatari culture.

We will have no responsibility of this initiative from here on in. This initiative will now be the sole responsibility of the production company overseeing the project.”

Mixed reactions

The announcement sparked a host of mixed reactions last night on social media.

Under the hashtag #فودافون_تسيء_لأهل_قطر (Vodafone insults the people of Qatar), many locals expressed support for the company’s decision:

https://twitter.com/A_A_Al_Dosari/statuses/501047428334624769

Translation: May God bless you, Sheikh Khalid al-Thani for this decision. May God reward you for it. A brave decision from a brave man.

Translation: The majority made their opinion clear and the company responded. Isn’t this the freedom that you want? Then why are some people upset?

Others were angry about the move:

https://twitter.com/Al_Anood/status/501031054812016640

https://twitter.com/AhoudAlThani/status/501029651028770817

https://twitter.com/ShaimaSherif/status/501026918741725184

What’s next

In response to questions about how the program will proceed from here, a Vodafone spokesperson told Doha News that all responsibility has been put in the hands of a local production company that is filming the journey.

The spokesperson said the company is equipped to ensure the security of the adventurers. She added, “Our full financial obligations towards this project are already met and fulfilled.”

Speaking to Doha News, the company – Mediadante – said that “Vodafone is going to pay the full financial obligation of our contract. It was never in question.”

However, because the telecom provider has withdrawn its name from the initiative and taken its website about the journey offline, it is understood that Mediadante will no longer produce a live online documentary about the adventure, as originally planned.

But the seven Qataris are continuing their trek to the village of Ararinha. In a statement to Doha News, Rosie Garthwaite, executive producer of the project and Mediadante founder, said:

“Inspired by other Qataris, who have set a philanthropic example before them, these young people are proud of the difference they hope to make to the education and therefore opportunity of the people they have met in this remote region. We look forward to seeing a joyful outcome to the project. And a successful future for these individuals and those they are working with in the jungle.”

The participants currently have limited phone connectivity and have conveyed that they do not wish to comment on Vodafone’s withdrawal of support until after finishing their task of rebuilding the school. They are due back in Doha after Aug. 28.

Online, some residents have begun to question what will happen after that:

https://twitter.com/Tahani_alhajri/statuses/501192070292574209

Translation: Qatar is a democracy that guarantees personal freedom. The girls have the legal right to sue anyone who participated in defaming them.

https://twitter.com/Rumaihia/statuses/501067930121928704

Translation: To those applauding the decision of ending support, what exactly have you gained now? The trip is still on, but won’t be broadcasted. Was the solution that Vodafone pull out only?

Precedent

Vodafone’s decision to capitulate to critics is not so unusual in Qatar, where other companies have also back-pedaled on initiatives after sparking negative reactions from the local community.

In 2012, Ooredoo (then Qtel) quietly removed a YouTube clip of a flash mob it organized at Landmark Mall that was criticized for showing some nationals and expats engaging in a sort of “dance-off.”

The same year, the talent show Arab Idol canceled auditions in Doha after criticism from the Qatari community, despite support from many residents.

More recently, local criticism was thought to play a role in the removal of the “head-butt” statue on the Corniche, which is now undergoing restoration at the Museum of Modern Arab Art (Mathaf).

However, Vodafone’s response did come as a bit of a surprise to some, as just days ago, the company showed no signs of pulling out of the excursion.

Last week, when asked for its response to ongoing criticism, the company told Doha News:

“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.”

Thoughts?

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disqus_TMLyDgHCfw
disqus_TMLyDgHCfw
6 years ago

I think this is a very bad move from Vodafone, and a complete misunderstanding of where public opinion lies. I for one will be changing to an Ooredoo contract today in protest.

I understand when back tracking happens in a case like QMA and the Zidane statue, as it is a Government entity, but for a private telecoms company with such a global footprint to give in to trolls on twitter who are seeking to remove these girls’ right to self expression is deplorable.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Totally agree. I’ve been quite frustrated with Ooooooredoooooo lately, both mobile and broadband, and how much of a ripoff they are combined with terrible customer service. I was to the point where I was starting to seriously contemplate switching, but this spineless display by VF guarantees that I’m stuck with what I have.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

This is ridiculous. I don’t wear an abaya when I’m abroad and neither do many other Qatari girls. Everyone knows that. But apparently, every little thing is a violation of our culture. If this is really a question of culture, then why isn’t there uproar at the guys not wearing thobes? I urge people not to be stupid… There’s enough of that in the world already.

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I couldn’t agree with you more!
The people complaining about this always say that girls & boys are equal blah blah.. But I haven’t once heard anyone complain about a man’s un Qatari dress/behaviour
The countless Qatari guys in the bars round Doha on a thurs night (which Qatari women are banned from entering) are hardly upholding Qatari culture, but Ive never heard anyone complain about that…

And now these innocent kids who were brave enough to take on this adventure to broaden their horizons and give something back to the world are punished for no reason!!
Absolutely shameful!

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

Don’t forget, 3 Qatari men are being punished alongside the 4 women as well. All because of some chauvinistic bullies and trolls who prefer to impose their interpretation of the religion and culture on others.

AI
AI
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

I wouldn’t call them trolls,, sadly some of who started the
hashtag complains are executives in the telecom sector! VF is solely responsible
for the current society polarization, they should have anticipated that it would backlash. What saddens me most
is the disgraceful defaming of participants & their families

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

Yes that is true!
But it is the girls that have been singled out in the hate campaign…

As I sad it is shameful that both the girls and boys have to suffer for some peoples narrow views
Im not really surprised that some people complained, as there will always be people like that in every country.
What surprises me is large companies continually pandering to these interfering trouble makers!

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  Deepak Babu

its their nation and culture, they can do whatever they wish. You earn here and go back to your ‘Shining’ India.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

I completely agree with your point, and really feel terrible for the seven kids on this trek. Also, I would like to say that I for one complain almost daily about Qatari male behavior, but it’s usually only to myself in my car after getting cut off by an LC or Cayenne while on the way to and from work…. 🙂

Alby
Alby
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Wherever and whoever you are, who asked you to wear Abaya?

Guest99
Guest99
6 years ago
Reply to  Alby

Whoever she is… should have the freedom to decide ! If she prefers to wear abaya when in Qatar, can’t you think it as a personal choice, same way an Indian lady would like to wear a saree, or an American lady would prefer an outfit – fitting for the occasion. She may not wish to wear the same while working in an office.

A person with curiosity
A person with curiosity
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest99

guess what

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I wish that there were more like you. But wait, there are more like you and the numbers are increasing every year. The level of education of women in Qatar is much higher than that of the men and will continue to increase. Soon you will outnumber (if not already) these closed minded individuals and will have your freedom of expression.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

To abaya or not to abaya, that is the question.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Women are the key, whether through shaping kids minds or pushing for careers, equality, leadership roles

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

Give me the child and I will give you the man.

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Every people have their identity. That of Qatari is Shyness, and Discipline.

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Altaf Patel

And what makes you the authority to tell a Qatari Woman what her identity should be?

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Altaf Patel

discipline? Have you driven on the roads?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Anonymous, I think you are AMAZING!! You are so right, there is plenty of stupid in the world already, so why bring more. I really like your logical mind and intelligence, so thank you so much for posting!

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I think you’ll find that the commenters on here are going to take you not wearing your abaya abroad as being obsessed at home, and the abaya thus being forced on you and if you were truly free and unlocked like the open minded westerns, you wouldn’t have to wear it at home either. Clarify if you like

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Some may disagree but the majority of Gulf Arabs now view the abaya as a symbol of culture and not religion. I wear the abaya in Qatar in the same way an Indian woman may wear, for example, a sari in India. It was not forced upon me in anyway. Hope that clarifies.

Ms. Hala
6 years ago

Just confused why how a lady dresses bothers so many men. Kudos to the young ambassadors for staying committed. Just a shame Vodafone…

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago

Either own up, saying you made a mistake or have the courage to follow through on your commitment. Don’t just abandon these brave youngsters, who joined your initiative, mid-way. This bowing down to bullies is really shameful of the company and just leaves a horrible stain on the brand image. Sad day.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Wow, just wow. I guess somebody pretty high up at VF was treated to a pretty intense “shisha session” by someone who didn’t like the girls’ attire. What about the boys and their lack of thobes? Why is that never even mentioned? I really feel terrible for these poor kids. This was going to be a trip of a lifetime for them: a chance to stretch boundaries and grow personally while helping others. Now it has just turned into another international public black eye for Qatar. I know the year is currently 1435, but which calendar is that on again? We must be talking Anno Domini; at least it sure feels like it sometimes.
Also, in response to one of the tweets quoted in the article…when did Qatar become a democracy with personal freedoms? I really hope that nobody is under the delusion that Qatar is a democracy. Couldn’t be farther from it.

expat viewer
expat viewer
6 years ago

double standard to paraphrase it.

Raven
Raven
6 years ago

An unbelievable decision! Small minded, petty parochialism prevails yet again. And to think that Qatar has aspirations to be a respected player on the global stage. On this evidence I’m afraid it has a very long way to go before it even gets close to achieving that aim.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago

Very surprised about this, but then again we shouldn’t be anymore … It is just an utterly shame that VF leaves 7 young adults “alone” in the Amazon just because some in the society didn’t like how they dress.
I have seen so many local ladies from GCC countries to literally throw off their abayas and sheilas once they are on a plane leaving the GCC, that it is nothing new – neither to us expats nor to the local ladies. And well, forget about the guys, most of them travel casual anyways and even are out and about without thobes within the GCC.
I do applaud these young adults that they went out to the world to do something good – which is what should be written and talked about, and not what they are wearing. Besides, if the ladies wore an abaya, it would draw a huge attention towards them, and who knows, in the end they even would be abducted (God forbid though). How would society react then?

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Shame on you Vodafone. You wimped out big time and clearly have no courage of conviction. What about the majority ( I’m convinced) of Qataris who were not opposed to this? Why do the vocal minority hold sway?

Saffa
Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Because the Vocal Minority always shout louder than the Silent Majority. The Silent Majorty don’t stick their their heads above the parapet for fear of becoming the target of the VM

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Let Vodafone remind the youngsters once again the dress code as mentioned in islam and let it continue to support them. If still after reminding about dress code they do not follow then we are not to force or decide. Instead leave the judgment to allah swt. We are no one to decide further. So let Vodafone continue to support them

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago

Let the yongsters decide what is best for them and their dress code just as you have decided to wear a t-shirt in your profile pic. These kids should be supported for their endevours not cast aside and ridiculed for something so minor .

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  The Avenger

Yes let them decide. At the same time let them respect islam rules which is first n foremost important. As said who are we to decide. Leave it to almighty

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

I have just arrived back to the country and am very disappointed to hear what has happened. Saeed, I would say to you that respecting Islamic rules is obviously the most important thing in the world to you (which scares me a little) but may not be to these people. They may also interpret the Islamic codes differently to you. You are correct though, it is between God and each individual to sort out. Nobody else should have a say. Finally I would like to say that I will never buy a Vodafone product in this country as they are just numpties.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I don’t think its Vodafone’s business to start giving lectures on Islam and their interpretation of the Koran.

VF took a cowards decision under bullying by certain sections of the community. Shame on them

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Because Vodafone believe in real democracy as they shown. They heard the people and acted upon.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Altaf Patel

What you say now when the real Qataris are standing up to defend their own against such bullying and discrimination?

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Don’t you lecture all of us on your interpretations of all religions #doublestandard!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Big difference. I’m an individual giving my opinion, you can choose to agree or disagree that is your right.

A company provides a product or service, not lessons on religion or morality unless that business is a church or mosque.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

So when a food company goes organic or uses environmentally conscious material and production, or a company pledges a percentage of profits to an initiative or cause, you could argue they are going beyond product and service provision and into having company guidelines based on morality or humanity or beliefs in what they as a company or individual running that company sees best for the future of that company and, say, the planet or initiative supported through their business practices, which is thus beyond core business practices of sales or support and will affect an individual or society in a way that is either agreeable or disagreeable

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Drizzle – I’m sorry to say your argument actually defeats your argument (unfortunately makes my counter-argument less fun, but in any case, here we go). You mention a food company which is conscientious about the environment. GREAT example. This company will most likely believe what it believes and support its principles until the end of time. Customers will either support it, or not, based on its principles.

This case is the opposite, in which a company (VF) tries to make an impact on society, VF goes for it, VF gets negative reception, VF bows out and absolves itself of any involvement of the activity. Surely you understand the difference.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Most companies these days have an active csr program in place in order to participate in the communities in which they serve and are often staffed by well intentioned people who believe in their cause, but by no means are csr programs designed foremost as charities or to make measurable differences without measurable differences to their business practices and bottom lines. Most companies will have two bottom lines and the csr line related to impact of a project on a community or “doing good” will be weighted differently and further weighted against the marketing benefits and are often a part of a marketing department. Hence the expression often used in the studies of csr is ‘doing well by doing good’ not ‘doing good and hopefully doing well’ A perfect example would be USaid, a us government program that supports a multitude of initiatives for the development of communities and countries globally. A feel good organization staffed by the best and brightest in economics and development that serve the American foreign agenda and support American business contracts overseas, ie reconstruction by strictly American firms So they too would bow out if under political or societal pressure, as would every other company. At the end of the day, business is business and if a csr initiative is going to hurt that, it will not continue, they’re not charities..

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

3 great examples to look up would be abercrombie & fitch, tom’s shoes and more recently and still ongoing, Soda stream giving jobs to otherwise unemployed Palestinian workers with their brand ambassador Scarlett Johanson not just towing the company line, but believing giving Palestinian’s jobs is a principled endeavour worth putting her name and reputation to. The international backlash and boycott is ongoing, watch that space for a company flip flop, those involved initially will still hold their beliefs most likely, but at the end of the day, if they’re locked out of selling their appliances in countries around the world, they won’t burn their company to the ground for it

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Strange how no one mentions the senior members of the Royal Family who don’t wear abayas and cover their hair when they aren’t in Qatar. They are all so happy to make snide remarks about people doing charity work in Brazil but utterly gutless to say a bad word about senior Al Thanis. What a bunch of hypocrites.

I’m glad there are people like these youngsters willing to donate their time and energy for a charitable purpose. The world would be a much better place if there were more people like them.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

My comment is in general. Every muslim is aware about islam . If they dont practice we can only say but never force. It is god to decide that persons judgement. Not me or Vodafone. Voda go back to them.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

So actually you are criticizing those people who forced Vodafone to cancel its support. You think that everyone should shut up and let these kids do their charity work in peace, and they have no business interfering and calling for them to stop, since God alone can judge.

I’m glad we agree.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

No fries. Im criticising voda

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago

And whose interpretation of that lifestyle choice rules? There is no agreement, you ask 10 Muslims what the expectations are and you’ll get 13 answers.

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago

Father, better you concentrate on your mission work, not on social media We are doing time-pass here because its off the work and we are without family here.

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago

completely agree brod. these people will always make a chance out of anything to defame Islam and its society.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Altaf Patel

How do these kids defame Islam and its society? This I really don’t understand … Because they do charity? Because they adapted their dress code? No one is there to judge you but God, the first principle of the religion …

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

You are saying those seven people were the only to do charity work for education ! That trip was like entertainment for them, finance and all other services were provided by the sponsors. Don’t make trivial incident a chance to defame Islamic nation, there are million dollar worth philanthropy projects by the Government in East Asia and Africa.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago

Question – where in the Quran does it state that women have to dress in abaya and sheila? I only found these:

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them. That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not harassed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
—Sura 33 (Al-Ahzab), ayah 59, Qur’an

The Quran explicitly states that “O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women” (Quran 33: 32) and as such has separate rules specifically for the wives of the Prophet.

I don’t want to start a discussion with this, but I really would like to know where it is stated that women have to cover themselves completely? It is an honest question, and no offence meant to anyone 🙂

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

No one is honestly saying this is about religion; Vodafone instead said that the charity work was not “suitable to the norms and values of the Qatari culture”. No mention of religion, but culture. Anyone trying to argue this is religious is talking crap.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

But arent’s those somehow linked with each other? Religion, culture, norms, values etc? I know they do not mention that this is due to religion, but I do believe they still base it on it somehow …

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

At what point has anyone mentioned religion? And as for women covering, Qataris don’t care whether women cover their hair in public when not in Qatar. That’s a personal choice and it’s never bothered anyone before.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I agree with you that VF never mentioned religion in their public statements (smart move), but I think what I.W. is referring to is all the backlash from the Qatari public who invoke Islamic ideals and quote verses from the Quran to back up their arguments. I agree that it hasn’t seemed to be a problem in the past for Qatari women to uncover their head in public while abroad, even for the royal family, but then I think that’s what makes the hypocrisy of the attackers position even more unpalatable. And then to see VF caving so quickly and easily is just another reminder that Qatar is not yet the first-world progressive country it so badly wants to be.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

It’s one of the commentators bringing religion into it, or rather trying to take religion out of everything as usual!

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

That’s exactly what I meant … Thank you 🙂

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Thanks for that – that is how I meant it 😉

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Well, as mentioned by thedrizzle96, one of the commentators brought in the religion, and I was just asking where it states that you have to cover as such when being a woman. Not more, not less … I am aware that the article doesn’t state any religious reason, and they will never actually say this … But again, and I know I am repeating myself, I do believe that culture, tradition and religion are all linked to each other …
I am also aware that many women do not cover their hair, or even do not wear an abaya when here or abroad. I personally do know many Muslima who are wearing normal clothes, with or without sheila …
Though I wouldn’t say it doesn’t bother anyone if a public figure is not covered properly, there have been numerous discussions about this here in the country, just most of it doesn’t even go public …

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

I tried asking similar honest questions in a hopefully respectful way on the last Vodafone/Brazil Debacle article’s comment section and in so many words was told that because I don’t speak Arabic and I’m not already a Muslim I wouldn’t understand the full meaning (though their discussions were rather confusing to me, sometimes demeaning, maybe intentionally, maybe some lost in translation). One person actually quoted the first verse too. Even different versions of that first one can be interpreted in wildly different ways depending on which source you consult. I couldn’t tell you the context of that one verse either, which can definitely help shed light on the interpretation. But I didn’t detect a lot of actual depth to their arguments, just repetition of their point and referring me to other “resources.” I don’t know, maybe if you read them you might glean something from them? It makes me wonder if people actually know why they believe it, or if they just think that way because that’s what they’ve either been forcefed or spoonfed. I’m like you: really trying to learn and understand, but I’m not being given much to work with, at least not in DN comment sections. I hope you receive better answers. I’ll be here reading over your shoulder!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

Vodafone should remind them about Islamic dress code? Now we’re getting somewhere

Zephyr
Zephyr
6 years ago

Craven decision on the part of Vodafone. What do they want to identify with as a global brand? Broad horizons, adventure and excitement, the chance to do good in the world? Or repression, oppression, negativity and the sort of warped thinking that calls for harm to young people because they don’t cover their hair? Heartening to see so many people are equally disappointed and appalled by this and I wish all possible good to those young people in the jungle who are trying so hard to grow as individuals and make the world a better place.

The Avenger
The Avenger
6 years ago

It’s just another form of male control hiding behind a cloak of culture and religion . You really have to ask yourself why would anyone want to appease backward minded individuals . I’m sure there’s a lot of young educated Qatari’s who are disgusted at this as well , let’s hope their voice is heard and they speak out as they are the future of this country . Change and progress is inevitable here and you will never ever stop it . it’s how you manage the change which is important.Qatar has a well defined history of own goals and media catastrophe’s and this one wil rank alongside the others .

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I cry for the state of humanity if a few people like this can oppress and shame others into such actions.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

Thanks for covering this story DN. I wasn’t able to find anything about it in the local papers. All I could find was coverage on much more important topics like being careful that your maid doesn’t “escape” while you’re on vacation in London this summer (implying that maids are captives/prisoners I assume?). I’m appreciative that we have a local news source like DN, so please keep up the good work!

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Agreed! DN is awesome and probably doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves, so thank you DN!!

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
6 years ago

“Translation: Qatar is a democracy that guarantees
personal freedom. The girls have the legal right to sue anyone who
participated in defaming them” – The defamation laws in Qatar are strict and carry with them severe penalties, it will be interesting to see if the families decide to persue this option.

rory
rory
6 years ago

Why would it be a family decision?

٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
6 years ago
Reply to  rory

Rory your question is a bit vague, I’m not sure if you are implying that the state may consider legal action or that the decision should be made by the individuals rather than the families. I will address both to save time.

1, The state is very unlikely to intervene in matters like this, indeed I was unable to find any legal precedence (although to be honest I didn’t look that hard)

2. Given the age and gender of the individuals, the high profile nature of the incident, the cultural and religious sensitivities and the family dynamics in the region it is odds on that a decision like this would be made as a family. Now granted it is not impossible that it could be the sole choice of the individual but that would certainly not be the norm.

Truth-Seeker
Truth-Seeker
6 years ago

We have to remember that we live in a hypocrit’s utopia. Pretending to be ideal and flawless.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

Double damage. Vodafone was able to alienate both closed minded conservatives and open minded liberals. wow what a PR disaster.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

With that kind if unique alienation skill-set, Vodafone could have a promising career being the spokesperson for the US White House. Just sayin!!

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

This is crazy, shame on you vodafone

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

Sort of like the Dorje Gerung syndrome.People at VF panicked that some day they may get that dreadfull call from the police station.The only thing more dreadful is that your release time can be calculated to be an unknown variable.There are many good Qataris,and with each new generation,things will change.Each new generation learns faster and this justaposition of values will change over time as well.As they say,with great power comes great responsibility.It seems like the ones who are capable of carrying great responsibility are the students,and some of the ones who have power,arn’t that responsible.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Diego

I am holding out for the great young students. Gosh, the ones I have met have blown my mind with their intelligence and open-mindedness. They are the hope for the future. Unfortunately an even like this makes even the best ones precarious about being put in a similar situation.

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

I would like to hear a statement from the Emir’s office on this matter.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Huzz..why are malls putting banners outside each door on dress etiquettes. Im wondering why it was not before but now these rules have come . Guess why

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

that’s a pretty big assumption you’re making there

Huzz
Huzz
6 years ago

I don’t know. you tell us please.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

These women are dressed in compliance with those rules posted outside the malls. So they should be no complaint!

Desert Rose
Desert Rose
6 years ago

Just a thought… Could all of this have been started by someone with links to Ooredoo in the hope of creating huge debacle (check), tarnishing a great initiative (check) and get residents to change service providers (TBC)?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Rose

No because nothing happens in Vodafone or Ooredoo or any other such “private” organisation without the input of the Qatari heirachy

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Desert Rose

I always love a good conspiracy theory…

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

Vodafone fails at customer service and now PR. Way to go Vodafone. Pulling out support wasn’t the way to go about this. You would have done better off ignoring the entire controversy altogether Vodafone.

Shirin
Shirin
6 years ago

The action taken by Vodafone (or those who influenced Vodafone) is disappointing because it unfairly distills Qatari culture down to an abaya. It sends the message that charitable works undertaken by Qatari women only count if delivered in an abaya. Qatar has undertaken many impressive charitable campaigns that were successful because of the actions of those involved, not for the clothing worn by those who delivered those actions. Regardless, there is a lot of support for the young Qataris in Brazil and I hope they learn of it. They should know that they will return with the full support and respect of many people living in Qatar.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago
Reply to  Shirin

Shirin – reading your words has made me smile. I am so happy to read of such support and your message that the charitable campaign is what is important, not what the person is wearing. I agree with you 100%, and I am so proud of these young men and women for having such kind hearts to make society better.

Altaf Patel
Altaf Patel
6 years ago

when your brothers and sisters are hunting for education in your neighbourhood like Palestine, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, why need to go so far ! sure that’s more enjoyment and their personal interest in the name of philanthropy.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
6 years ago
Reply to  Altaf Patel

Maybe because it is not really safe there at the moment, at all ?!?!? I do agree that there is ample opportunity in the region for education, but would you send your kids in these countries? Not if there are war zones everywhere …

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

These hypocritical clowns are easily appeased by meaningless actions, 2022 for example would invite significantly more non-Qatari and non-Islamic elements onto Qatari soil, yet they would not dare speak up on that because they know who they would be going up against if they did. However when it comes to your average Qatari girls they turn brave and are ready to openly express their disapproval as disrespectfully as they can.

Let the Emir or one of his immediate relatives endorse these Qataris and I will be willing to give you my fingers if these rats would make a peep about it.

wee_johnnie
wee_johnnie
6 years ago

So what happens in 2022 if someone deems inappropriate scenes to be broadcast live? Will we have to read the match report of the final in the following morning’s newspaper after someone pulls the plug on the live broadcast ?

Presume Mt Kilimanjaro expedition still on with the mixed group or that too in jeopardy?

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
6 years ago

“Thoughts?” DN asks, my thoughts are that my heart sincerely hurts right now. I’m literally speechless… I’m sure as I read through the comments I will have something to say, but at the moment I just hurt and want to cry for these sweet 7 young adults.

I still view them as AWESOME and I wish I could be there with them to have such an adventure and accomplish such an amazing goal; and no matter what any one else says, I will view them as heros. Stay strong kids!! There are many who support you!!

carlsburg
carlsburg
6 years ago

This is representative of how immature Qatar is. For once a few Qartai young adults find something to give rather than always taking, these adolescents are providing for less fortunate rather than drive around in their Land Cruisers terrorizing other drivers, standing in front of a mirror priming their head dress or wandering the malls wearing Rayban’s.

This furthers the case where Qatar is not yet ready to host the World Cup.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

During my stay in Qatar while working at the education city ..i met many young Qatari men and women who are studying there; who have such an open view about life but yet are in touch with their religion and culture. Mohammed Fakro who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one young man. I met him on my first week and he was in casual clothes. We chatted at an event and he gave me the best impression of a young Qatari man that will one day define modern Qatar. I also met many young Qatari women who voiced their displeasure at how they are treated like 2nd class citizens just because of their gender but most told me … they will play a role in changing Qatar. To the tunnel visioned men and women of Qatar who think abayas and thobes define you…watch out … the younger generation of Qataris will one day come of age and your days are numbered. You either change or change will be forced upon you. There is no denying there will be some male chauvinist and subservient women even among the younger generation but I still see hope. There are more young women graduating from universities every year compared to men in Qatar and these women understand that to be a good wife…a loyal wife and a good mother, she does not have to bow her head an accept everything men say. She too understands that self empowerment does not mean disloyalty or that it makes her less of a woman. She now too knows that marriage is not her only means to survive. So…men of Qatar, unless you want to ban all women from attending universities…may i suggest you change and be receptive to change…not of religion but of mindset. Your women are educated…she is not just interested in money. That she can earn herself. The young women of Qatar want more then just a flashy car .. they want a partner who treats them equally and accepts that they might be smarter then you. You risk Qatari women looking elsewhere for their soul mates if you continue dictating their lives and treat them in a subservient manner. When that happens…it will be your own doing ! You have been warned !!

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