Head of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Turkey and head of the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States, Rabbi Mendi Chitrik, spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about the initiative in which kosher food is provided for Jewish fans at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Chitrik says he's excited about the prospect of helping Jews who may not have access to kosher dining in a country with a scattered Jewish community.
"Local authorities aren't just cooperating with us - they're going out of their way to make things as easy as possible," says Chitrik, whose project is offered Jewish fans more 100 bagel sandwiches a day along with over 300 challahs this past Shabbat.
"It's important for Jews to know that they're free to live as Jews anywhere they are," adds the rabbi.
Rabbi Chitrik denied reports that Qatar had not allowed the baking of kosher food. "My son was standing in the kitchen making pastries when he heard the report. I don't know where it came from but it's not true," he asserts.
"This is a historic step," says Chitrik, adding: "I haven't had any problems with Qatari authorities."
"The Abraham Accords are very important," states Chitrik. "They have influenced many younger people. Political differences should not prevent Jews from living Jewish lives in [Arab countries]."
Addressing religious persecution faced by Jews in the Islamic world, Chitrik says it simply doesn't exist.
"Unlike of issues with Jewish slaughter or circumcision faced in Scandinavia, there is no such problem in the Muslim world," he stresses.
"As the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States, we see it as our duty to both normalize life in the eyes of our fellow citizens as well as other Jews - some of whom don't realize how many other Jews live in the Muslim world," says Chitrik.
We're happy to continue our tradition of living in this part of the world," he concludes.