Why Arabs and Muslims feel stung by coverage of the Qatar World Cup

“Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker,” FIFA chief Gianni Infantino mentioned in a fiery tirade on Saturday, evaluating his personal plight as a redhead son of migrants to that of marginalized communities.

His ostensible empathy with Qatar was resulting from the barrage of criticism the nation has confronted in Western media for internet hosting the event.

But it’s hypocritical of the West to be giving classes in morality to others, he mentioned.

Those statements on the eve of the World Cup went viral, inviting a lot anger and ridicule. But to many Arabs and Muslims, they resonated strongly.

Omar Alsaadi, a 21-year-old Qatari, informed CNN that Infantino vocalized “from a Western point of view” what many of his compatriots have felt about being targets of racism.

In the run-up to the event, Western media coverage has been dominated by the controversies surrounding the occasion relatively than the sport itself, together with the Gulf nation’s treatment of migrant workers, its guidelines on LGBTQ people and its tight social restrictions. Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, shunned airing the opening ceremony on tv, opting as a substitute to cowl criticism of the host nation. The BBC mentioned it did broadcast the ceremony on their video-on-demand service.

This yr’s World Cup is actually like no other before it. It is the first to be held in a Muslim nation and Qatar has gone a protracted solution to give the occasion a distinctly Arab and Muslim taste.

The Bedouin-themed opening ceremony on Sunday started with a feminine singer donning a standard burqa, a sort of face protecting that has been banned in a number of European nations. It additionally cited a verse from the Quran about God creating humanity into “nations and tribes” to allow them to get to know one another.

According to social media reviews, some lodge rooms in the nation provide guests QR codes to find out about Islam, and Muslim volunteers have been educating guests about Islamic fashion.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), which is answerable for overseeing the infrastructure initiatives and planning for the World Cup, didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.

But in an earlier assertion to CNN, the SC mentioned it was dedicated to “an inclusive and discriminatory-free” World Cup.

“Everyone is welcome in Qatar, but we are a conservative country and any public display of affection, regardless of orientation, is frowned upon. We simply ask for people to respect our culture.”

The visibility of Islamic symbols in Qatar hasn’t escaped these attending. An on-air joke by a French journalist about the presence of “a lot of mosques” in the nation triggered outrage amongst Muslims on social media.

Western information shops have additionally been accused of peddling stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims.

The Times of London on Monday mentioned “Qataris are unaccustomed to seeing women in Western dress in their country” in a photograph caption that was later deleted after being flagged on social media. Around 87% of the nation’s inhabitants of 2.9 million is made up of expatriates, many of whom are Western.

“I think that the Western media is biased because they don’t want to see an Arabic success, a Muslim success in the delivering and hosting of a global cup for football in a third [world country],” Najd Al-Mohanadi, a 20-year-old Qatari, informed CNN.

But some in the Western media have spoken out in opposition to stereotyping and alleged biases. Ayman Mohyeldin, an MSNBC host who beforehand labored for Qatar’s Al Jazeera, mentioned latest coverage of Qatar exhibits “the depths of Western prejudice, performative moral outrage and, perhaps most significantly, gross double standards.”

The Economist and the New York Times have additionally run articles defending Qatar’s proper to host the event. The Times of London ran an essay saying criticism of Qatar was “laced with hypocrisy.”

“I always question the timing [of the criticism], as migrants throughout the region endure poor living arrangements for meager pay, while also working under strenuous physical and mental conditions,” mentioned Mira Al Hussein, a postdoctoral researcher from the UAE who’s finding out at Oxford University in England.

“Scrutiny is overdue and it makes no sense to tie it to global events where virtue-signaling becomes deeply problematic,” Al Hussein informed CNN.

“Especially when it comes from non-NGO entities that are themselves embroiled in human rights violations within and across their borders.”

James Lynch, director of the human rights group FairSquare and a former British diplomat in Qatar, mentioned that whereas some of the coverage round Qatar in the West has strengthened damaging stereotypes about the Arab Muslim world, most of the criticism has been “fair and proportionate.”

“It’s absolutely right to call out instances of that kind of coverage, but wrong to generalize from those examples to imply that all, or most, criticism is driven by racism,” he mentioned.

Workers in the nation proceed to “face harsh, abusive working conditions and severe exploitation, with domestic and construction workers among those most at risk,” he mentioned, including that Qatar’s ladies and LGBTQ folks “face serious discrimination and repression, both in law and practice.”

Critics of Western media coverage of Qatar have countered that different nations with questionable human rights data didn’t obtain such scrutiny when internet hosting world sporting occasions.

“At the risk of engaging in whataboutism… Qatar’s human rights records, as poor as they may be, cannot possibly be more outrageous than other countries, such as Russia, China and Israel,” mentioned Al Hussein. “Qatar is certainly not engaging in ethnic cleansing, nor are migrants living in concentration camps, despite the poor living conditions.”

Maryam AlHajri, a Qatari researcher at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, mentioned some of the latest rhetoric round Qatar exhibits that some Western critics have been extra involved with feeding into an “orientalist discourse,” referring to language aimed toward imposing Western worldviews, than human rights.

“This should not be read as a justification to cease criticizing the migrant worker condition in Qatar,” she mentioned. “Rather, it should be interpreted as an argument for the necessity to contextualize the migrant workers situation as part of a globalized economic order built on colonialism and racial capitalism.”

She famous nonetheless that some over-zealous defenders of the authorities on the Qatari facet have uncared for the nation’s human rights shortcomings.

“Many of the people defending Qatar are also using terrifyingly pro-government language,” she mentioned, including that it reaches a degree that doesn’t assist the trigger of Qatar’s migrant employees.

“The plight of migrant workers in places like the US or the UK does not take away from the fact that we have problems in Qatar,” AlHajri informed CNN. “It shouldn’t be about whataboutism.”

With extra reporting from Mariam Dirar Alqasem in Doha

video thumbnail nima iran rape pkg

CNN hears testimony from ladies who say they skilled sexual violence by Iranian regime

Social media movies have emerged allegedly displaying Iranian safety forces sexually assaulting feminine demonstrators on the streets.

With media entry inside Iran severely constrained, CNN went to the area close to Iraq’s border with Iran, interviewing eyewitnesses who’d left the nation and verifying accounts from survivors and sources each in and exterior Iran.

The covert testimonies revealed sexual assaults on male and feminine activists as a women-led rebellion spreads all through Iran.

US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley on Tuesday tweeted it’s “a reminder of what is at stake for the Iranian people – and of the lengths to which the regime will go in its futile attempt to silence dissent.”

Read the article here.

Here’s the newest on the protests in Iran:

  • UN human rights chief Volker Türk mentioned on Tuesday that the rising quantity of protest-related deaths highlights the “critical” nature of the state of affairs in the nation. The UN mentioned its sources had reported over 40 deaths “in mainly Kurdish cities in the past week.”
  • Forty international nationals “affiliated in riots” have been arrested in Iran since protests began in September, Iranian judiciary spokesperson Masood Satayshi mentioned with out revealing their nationalities.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned on Tuesday the US is taking steps to “push back against actions Iran is taking to repress its own people.”
  • Mobile web was restored in Iran after a significant disruption on Monday, based on web watchdog NetBlocks, which mentioned that mobile information was down for about 3.5 hours as safety forces cracked down on protesters in the Kurdish area of Iran.

Saudi Arabia produced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup historical past Tuesday, beating Lionel Messi’s Argentina 2-1 in an astonishing Group C match.

Many had anticipated the South American workforce, ranked third in the world, unbeaten for 3 years and amongst the favorites to win the event, to comb apart its opponent, ranked 48 locations beneath it in the world rankings.

Watch CNN’s Becky Anderson converse to celebrating followers of the Saudi workforce:

Also learn:

  • A quick historical past of World Cup shocks.
  • Watch: hilarious moments of Saudi followers celebrating.
  • Many are questioning how a tiny nation with little footballing historical past ended up internet hosting one of the greatest sporting occasions. Find out here.
  • Some of those attending the matches have skilled difficulties when attempting to enter stadiums sporting clothes in assist of LGBTQ rights.
  • How World Cup politics clarify the modern world.
  • Here’s what followers can’t do in Qatar.
  • Qatar is a minefield for World Cup advertisers. One workforce has already misplaced a sponsor.

Teenage scholar dies in twin explosions in Jerusalem

Two explosions shook Jerusalem early Wednesday, killing one particular person and injuring 18 others in a suspected “combined terror attack,” based on an Israeli police spokesperson. The first explosion occurred at a bus station close to the entrance of Jerusalem, killing a 16-year-old scholar at a Jewish seminary, his household informed native media. The second explosion occurred virtually half an hour later at the metropolis’s Ramot junction. Initial investigations indicated that explosive units have been positioned at each blast websites and a search is underway for suspects, the police spokesperson mentioned.

  • Background: The assault brings the quantity of folks killed on the Israeli facet of the battle to at the very least 29 this yr. This yr has additionally been the deadliest for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2015.
  • Why it issues: Jerusalem has not seen a double bombing like this one in a few years. Prime Minister Yair Lapid mentioned after collaborating in a state of affairs evaluation with safety officers that the incident was “different from what we have seen in recent years.” The explosions come after months of tensions in the occupied West Bank.

Russia to construct assault drones for Ukraine warfare with the assist of Iran, intelligence evaluation says

Iran and Russia have reached an agreement to start the manufacturing of assault drones in Russia, based on a brand new intelligence evaluation from a rustic that intently screens Iran’s weapons program. Iran is starting to switch blueprints and elements for the drones to Russia after the preliminary settlement was struck earlier this month, mentioned a supply acquainted with the evaluation.

  • Background: US officers have mentioned that Russia has acquired a whole lot of drones from Tehran which have had a lethal impact in Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Iranian authorities acknowledged for the first time that it had despatched a restricted quantity of drones to Russia in the months earlier than the begin of its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Why it issues: The transfer would additional cement the partnership between Tehran and Moscow and probably provoke important anger from Ukraine and its western allies together with the US. Sources defined that the objective is for Russia to supply 1000’s of new assault drones utilizing Iranian elements and blueprints.

Saudi Arabia says it might take steps to stability market

Oil rose on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia mentioned OPEC+ was sticking with output cuts and may take additional steps to stability the market, outweighing world recession worries and concern about China’s rising Covid-19 case numbers, Reuters reported. Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Monday was additionally cited by state information company SPA as denying a Wall Street Journal report that mentioned OPEC was contemplating boosting output.

  • Background: The Wall Street Journal earlier on Monday reported an output improve of 500,000 barrels per day was below dialogue for the subsequent assembly of OPEC and its allies, referred to as OPEC+, on December 4. The report cited unidentified OPEC delegates. The report despatched oil costs plunging by greater than 5%.
  • Why it issues: The oil cartel final month cut production by 2 million barrels per day in an effort to stabilize the market “in light of the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks.” The oil minimize was made regardless of robust US strain in opposition to it. Potential additional cuts may exacerbate already tense relations between the US and Saudi Arabia.
Participants take part in Libya's Ashoor Classic bodybuilding championship in the capital Tripoli, Libya on Tuesday.

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