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October 17, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10264

Qataris, Pro-Qatar Twitter Users Launch Campaign Condemning Denmark For Planning To Highlight Qatar’s Human Rights Violations During FIFA World Cup

October 17, 2022
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 10264

In response to the wave of criticism to Qatar’s violations of human rights, namely on migrant workers who constructed the facilities in which Qatar will host the players and soccer fans during next month’s FIFA World Cup competition in Doha, Qatar, Qatari citizens as well pro-Qatar Arabs launched an online campaign condemning the Denmark whose uniform sponsor, Hummel announced that the players will wear a monochromatic uniform that pays tribute to the migrant workers who died during pre-tournament construction. In its statement regarding the World Cup uniforms for the Denmark national team, sportswear company Hummel said: “This shirt carries with it a message. We don't wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives. We support the Danish national team all the way, but that isn't the same as supporting Qatar as a host nation.”[1]Qatar’s official response was delivered by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the FIFA 2022 World Cup organizer which issued a statement saying “we whole-heartedly reject the trivialising of our genuine commitment to protect the health and safety of the 30,000 workers who built FIFA World Cup stadiums and other tournament projects. That same commitment now extends to 150,000 workers across various tournament services and 40,000 workers in the hospitality sector.”[2] Under the hashtag, Denmark National Team is not Welcome [in Qatar,] the campaign participants denied that any violations have been committed against migrant workers and focused their criticism at Denmark which they accused of mistreating its own migrants populations, disrespecting Islam and Muslims while others have even called for the banning of the Danish national team from entering Qatar and suggesting the legal actions should be carried against Denmark instead of just launching a hashtag in Arabic.

Condemning Demark, Dr. Elham Bader Al-Sada, a Qatari journalist and political analyst posted a tweet in English on September 30, 2022, under the hashtag “Denmark national team is not welcome [in Qatar]” saying: “Denmark should be ashamed before accusing others of violating human rights for these two reasons and the photos only. Denmark has one of the highest rates of femicide in Europe. Hate crimes related to race or religion rose 27% between 2020 and 2021.”[3]

Along the same line, Qatari Twitter user Ahmad Al-Qawbari wrote to his 21.7 thousand users that: “The workers in Qatar live a decent life and better than the life of the Syrian refugees in Denmark who are suffering there and consider it an unsafe country. The Danish Parliament passed a bill called the jewelry bill which allows the government to confiscate refugees’ properties whose value exceeds $1000.”[4]

In a tweet in English, Qatari national and Twitter user Saad Al-Dosari wrote to his 10.5 thousand followers on September 30, 2022: “The last speakers for human rights are the Europeans and the Americans, History will not forget your occupation of African & Asia countries ,killing their people and using them as your slaves .so shut your mouth & your (sic) not welcome to Qatar.”[5]

A former Qatari judge who is currently a lawyer at Qatar’s Court of Cassation Dr. Hassan Bin Muhammad Al-Mohannadi denied that his country has violated workers’ rights and accused Denmark of being racist against immigrants and hostile against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad and “should respect our religion, traditions and culture and should not falsify or randomly bring accusations about workers and their rights in our country Qatar.”[6]

Dr. Ali Salham Al-Kubaisi, an assistant professor at Qatar University addressed Denmark, the U.K., Germany and other countries that attack “the first Muslim country to host the World Cup” because of workers’ rights” saying: “The workers are fine and blessed and are in the hospitality of Qatar and if they did not receive their rights, all of these major projects wouldn’t have been completed. He then challenged these nations, “if they were actually serious” to provide jobs for one million workers who have founds jobs in Qatar.[7]

In addition to Qataris, other Arab citizens have also participated in the campaign and defended Qatar. For example, Ooussa, a Kuwaiti Twitter user with more than 11 thousand followers posted a tweet in English saying: “We refuse the false allegations from Denmark’s kit sponsor, Hummel, against #Qatar and we stand by our brothers in countering their media attacks and against reputational damage. The labor law in Qatar is fair & impartial.”[8]

Stockholm-based Twitter user Rasha questioned Denmark’s motive and accused it of using double standards. She wrote to her over 12 thousand followers: “It is hard to believe Denmark’s humanitarian concern. To remind you: humanist Denmark deports Syrian refugees to Rwanda. Hostility towards foreigners increased 27% during 2021. During 2018 World Cup in Russia which took place after the Russian bloody massacres in Syria, we did not hear any objections from Europe.”[9]

The Doha-based Tunisian journalist Awatef Ben Ali who works for the Qatari daily Al-Sharq posted a tweet in English under the same hashtag on October 1, 2022 saying: “Shame on Denmark attacking the World Cup in Qatar and your human rights record is disastrous. You expel refugees and expose them to death. Even animals have not been spared from you. Racism and discrimination against the Arabs.”[10]

Some of the campaign participants went as far as demanding the banning of Denmark from coming to Qatar and suggested taking legal action against it instead of venting in a hashtag. The Tech columnist for the Qatari daily Al-Arab Muhammad Al-Kuwari wrote: “There are issues that can be addressed with a hashtag or a countering media campaign but there are other issues that require a legal path that would lead to disciplinary action. The position of Denmark’s national team should have been addressed by the law and by the regulations included in the FIFA agreements in particular .. “[11]

Qatari civil engineer and twitter user with over 373 thousand followers Hamad Lahdan Al-Muhannadi agreed with Al-Kuwari’s tweet and added that Hummel accused Qatar of being responsible for the death of thousands of workers which is “not true and a lie. Therefore, Qatar should sue the company for spreading rumors that harm the reputation of Qatar.”[12]

The Qatari press and prominent media personalities also took part in the campaign. Qatari TV host Khalid Jassem, who has almost one million followers on Twitter, accused Denmark of “provoking” Qatar, “bringing politics into sport and spreading lies against Qatar without proof and evidence and using sport kits that have nothing to do with sport. This is a provocation and  unethical behavior ..”[13]

The editor-in-chief of the Qatari electronic newspaper Al-Liwaa Mubarak Bin Muhammad Al-Khiyarain published an article on October 10, 2022, in which he lashed out at both the UAE and Bahrain and accused them of funding the campaign to distort the image of his country and sponsoring the voices that criticize Qatar’s record on foreign workers’ right before the World Cup. In the same article, Al-Khiyarain called on all Qataris and on the expats to defend Qatar and “foil the plot of the haters and traitors.” He concluded by noting that he is not concerned about the western media campaign against Qatar as much as he is disappointed with the Arabs who criticize his country.[14]

As part of the same campaign, the Qatari daily Al-Sharq published an extensive report on October 2, 2022, highlighting Denmark “inhumane practices against the refugees.” After citing Denmark’s national team plan to protest Qatar’s human rights record during the world Cup, the report asks: “But the question here is does Denmark have a humanist and human rights record that allows it to criticize other nations and gives examples in that domain? The answer is unfortunately no, with a bold font, because Denmark has one of the worst records on human rights according to many international reports.”[15]

In addition to the report, Al-Sharq published a satirical video titled: “Why Denmark and others are waging war against the Arab Mondial? Why do western media outlets launch distorting campaigns against any non-European nation that hosts the Mondial?” Answering the question, the presenter Misha’l Bin Hassan said: “You say that 50 thousand workers died in Qatar because of the Mondial? If so, the Mondial wouldn’t have been called the Mondial but rather the raid of the World Cup.” Bin Hassan then noted that since he was a young boy, he learned that Denmark is “a country that is hostile against Islam and Muslims. And I knew that it used to publish disrespectful drawings mocking the Prophet Muhammad.” Arguing that Qatar did not violate workers’ rights, Bin Hassan maintains that Denmark provided no proof for its allegations against Qatar, “do you have names or facts? You have none,” he said. He concluded by accusing Denmark and the other countries that criticize Qatar of doing so “because Qatar is holding tight to its traditions and customs and because it rejects certain practices such as normalization of relations with the Zionist entity and other things that we know because these issues violate our values and we will not accept them even if we would lose [hosting] the Mondial.”[16]

 

 

[1] Twitter.com/hummel1923/status/1575130931786022913, September 28, 2022.

[2] Iloveqatar.net/qatar2022/news/supreme-committee-issue-statement-response-denmark-world-cup-kit-protest, September 29, 2022.

[3] Twitter.com/ELHAMBADER1/status/1575896025533145090, September 30, 2022.

[4] Twitter.com/Ahmad_alqawbari/status/1575610753620377600, September 29, 2022.

[5] Twitter.com/SaadDosari/status/1575742813966602240, September 30, 2022.

[6] Twitter.com/Lawyer_DR_H/status/1575698061653086210, September 30, 2022.

[7] Twitter.com/DrKubaisi/status/1576131460217835520, October 1, 2022.

[8] Twitter.com/Ooussa/status/1575950127017394176, September 30, 2022.

[9] Twitter.com/Rasha_RKH_17/status/1576584197937852416, October 2, 2022.

[10] Twitter.com/awatef_benali/status/1576321361722499072, October 1, 2022.

[11] Twitter.com/BoArhama/status/1575734449261907968, September 30, 2022.

[12] Twitter.com/hamadlahdan/status/1575735356099813376, September 30, 2022.

[13] Twitter.com/khalidjassem74/status/1575582076036067329, September 29, 2022.

[14] Al-liwaa.com/?p=76461, October 10, 2022.

[15] Al-sharq.com/article/02/10/2022/%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9%D9%83%D9%88%D8%A8%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AC%D9%86-%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%AC%D9%84-%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AB%D9%8A-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86, October 2, 2022.

[16] Twitter.com/alsharq_portal/status/1579487409615634434, October 10, 2022.

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