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Friday, June 18, 2021

The most read stories on Doha News in September

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This month we tried something different and rounded up our most popular stories in September, which was then printed in Qatar Today magazine’s October issue.

Here they are, in order of most views. Topping that in leaps and bound was Villaggio Mall. From boycott calls to a postponed court hearing to Villaggio’s eventual reopening, news about the mall was in high demand.

1. Villaggio Mall re-opens

Three and a half months after a fire killed 19 people there, Villaggio reopened its doors to the public, albeit in parts. Civil Defense gave the green-light following an inspection of the mall’s new fire safety measures on September 19, but the damaged area between Gates 3 and 4 remains sealed.

The re-opening was bittersweet for many residents, not the least of whom are the families of those who were killed in the fire. The parents of the 13 children killed in the fire called for a boycott of the mall until key questions are answered and justice is served. Earlier in September, the criminal prosecution to determine responsibility for the fire was postponed after two out of three parties charged did not show up.

2. Qatar protests the anti-Islam video

Some 2,000 people marched toward the US Embassy in Doha after Friday prayer, joining their voices with protesters from across the region against a YouTube video made in the United States that disparages the Prophet Muhammad. Called for by prominent Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Qatar’s demonstration was peaceful and orderly.

3. Hijab-wearing student ‘not excluded’ from school

A news report about an 11-year-old Egyptian girl being banned from attending classes for wearing hijab spread rapidly on social media, with inflamed residents calling for the government to take action. But it appears no such ban actually took place. The controversy was sparked by an errant tweet sent by a friend of the girl’s father after Compass International School Doha asked if young girls normally wear the headscarf.

4. Plainclothes officers out to catch Qatar’s bad drivers

The Traffic Department has started deploying police officers dressed as civilians to make sure drivers don’t overtake people from the right side of the road. The move, announced by Capt. Saood Al Khater on Twitter, is a bid to improve road safety after schools officially reopen for the fall term.

5. Counting down the much-awaited IKEA

Al Futtaim Group, which is developing Doha Festival City, has launched a widget on festivalcitydoha.com counting down the launch of the first IKEA store in Qatar. The counter puts the Swedish warehouse’s launch around mid-December, although the developer has previously told Doha News that it is slightly behind schedule, and is expected to open at the beginning of 2013, instead.


Here it is in Qatar Today, including some of the feedback we got on those stories via Facebook and Twitter:

What was your top story of the month?

Credit: Photo of Villaggio Mall reopened by Brian Candy

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