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Ghanim Al Muftah: The Qatari Star with Morgan Freeman at FIFA World Cup 2022 Opening

Who is Ghanim Al Muftah?

To many in the Gulf, motivational speaker Ghanim Al Muftah is a familiar face.

But the young disability activist, who has a huge following on social media, was one of the breakout stars on Sunday night at the opening ceremony of the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Doha, which was watched by thousands around the world.

Morgan Freeman And Ghanim Al Mufatah On Stage At Al Bayt Stadium. Getty Images
Morgan Freeman and Ghanim Al Mufatah on stage at Al Bayt Stadium. Getty Images

Al Muftah, 22, stole the show at the ceremony at the tent-shaped Al Bayt Stadium, sharing the stage with Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman.

Al Muftah And Freeman Welcomed The World To Qatar At The Opening Ceremony. Afp
Al Muftah and Freeman welcomed the world to Qatar at the opening ceremony. AFP

The young Qatari recited a verse from the Quran and helped the actor welcome the world in a show themed around unity and tolerance.

“We sent out the call, because everyone is welcome. This is an invitation to the whole world,” said Al Muftah, dressed in a thobe and walking to the stage with the use of his hands.

Creative Director Ahmad Al Baker Said He Wanted The Opening Ceremony To Signify 'A Gathering For All Mankind, An Invitation To Come Together As One, Bridging All Differences With Humanity, Respect And Inclusion'. Epa
Creative director Ahmad Al Baker said he wanted the opening ceremony to signify ‘a gathering for all mankind, an invitation to come together as one, bridging all differences with humanity, respect and inclusion’. EPA

Then, reciting a verse from the Quran, he added: “We were raised to believe that we were scattered on this earth as nations and tribes, so we could learn from each other and find beauty in our differences.”

“I can see it,” Freeman replied. “What unites us here, in this moment, is so much greater than what divides us. How can we make it last longer than just today?”

“With tolerance and respect, we can live together under one big home,” Al Muftah replied.

Morgan Freeman | Al Muftah Is A Well-Known Face In The Gulf, With A Huge Following On Social Media. Afp
Morgan Freeman | Al Muftah is a well-known face in the Gulf, with a huge following on social media. AFP

Al Muftah was born in Qatar with a rare condition known as caudal regression syndrome, a congenital disorder in which the foetal development of the lower body is abnormal.

Mostly using his hands to move around, he has documented his continuing medical challenges, turning them into an inspirational journey and eventually becoming a motivational speaker.

Currently, in university studying political science, Al Muftah hopes to become a diplomat one day. He is also a major social media star, with more than seven million followers on TikTok, more than 3.3 million on Instagram and close to a million subscribers on YouTube.

The Ceremony, At The Tent-Shaped Al Bayt Stadium, Was Themed Around Unity And Tolerance. Afp
The ceremony, at the tent-shaped Al Bayt stadium, was themed around unity and tolerance. AFP

He also enjoys participating in extreme sports such as scuba diving, skateboarding and rock climbing, and hopes to be a Paralympian one day.

In April, Al Muftah was named a Fifa World Cup 2022 ambassador.

Sunday’s 30-minute ceremony was meant to introduce Qatar to the world through its culture and with a theme of “bridging distances”.

Qatari Motivational Speaker And Social Media Influencer Ghanim Al Muftah Shares The Stage With Hollywood Star Morgan Freeman At The Opening Ceremony Of The Qatar 2022 World Cup. Afp
Qatari motivational speaker and social media influencer Ghanim Al Muftah shares the stage with Hollywood star Morgan Freeman at the opening ceremony of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. AFP

Creative director Ahmad Al Baker told the Associated Press he wanted the ceremony to signify “a gathering for all mankind, an invitation to come together as one, bridging all differences with humanity, respect and inclusion”.

Al Muftah Is Joined By Qatari Singer Dana Al Fardan And Performers On Stage. Afp
Al Muftah is joined by Qatari singer Dana Al Fardan and performers on stage. AFP

The show also featured a performance by BTS member Jung Kook and Qatari singer Fahad Al Kubaisi, who sang the single Dreamers, produced specifically for the World Cup.

Bts Star Jung Kook Performing At Fifa Worldcup 2022 In Qatar
BTS Star Jung Kook performing at FIFA Worldcup 2022 in Qatar

“We have worked hard, along with many people, to make it one of the most successful tournaments,” said Sheikh Tamim, Emir of Qatar, in his opening ceremony speech.

“We have exerted all efforts and invested for the good of all humanity. 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.”

Al Muftah, 22, Was Born With A Rare Birth Defect That Inhibited The Development Of His Lower Body. Reuters
Al Muftah, 22, was born with a rare birth defect that inhibited the development of his lower body. Reuters

Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures from the World Cup 2022 opening ceremony

Source: The National News

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