Emir Alleges ‘Unprecedented Campaign’ Against Qatar as Host of World Cup
The emir of Qatar decried what he called the “unprecedented campaign” of criticism against his country over its actions as host of the upcoming World Cup. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Tuesday in a speech to the country’s legislative council, that Qatar has accepted the criticism as constructive, adding: “But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrications and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many wonder, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.” It is the first time that the quadrennial international FIFA championship tournament will be held in an Arab country in the Middle East. The World Cup is slated to start on November 20. His comments come a day after Human Rights Watch alleged that security forces in Qatar arbitrarily arrested and abused its LGBT citizens. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Qatar has said it would not ban homosexual fans from the World Cup but warned against public displays of affection. “Freedom of expression and nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be guaranteed, permanently, for all residents of Qatar, not just spectators going to Qatar for the World Cup,” HRW said in a statement. Qatar also has been accused of mistreating its foreign workers, including not adhering to safety standards at the construction sites of the venues built for the World Cup matches.