July 7, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10699

Reactions In Qatari Media To Riots In France: It Is A Racist Country Unworthy Of Hosting The Olympic Games Next Year; The Riots Are Divine Punishment For Its Crimes Against Islam And Muslims

July 7, 2023
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 10699

The riots that broke out in France following the killing of a French Algerian teen, Nahel M., on July 28, 2023 evoked many reactions in Qatar's press and social media, including from officials and journalists, that accused France of racism and human rights violations. Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Hamad Al-Kawari, for example, tweeted that the riots are a response to France's internal policy that marginalizes minorities although they are an important part of the workforce that built and is building France. Na'ima 'Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Mutawa'a, a media advisor in Qatar's foreign ministry, called on Muslim and Arab tourists to boycott France, and Europe in general, as punishment for their racism. Other media figures claimed that France is not a safe place to hold the Olympic games next year and called to move them to a different country.

In addition to the criticism against France, there were also expressions of glee over the riots taking place there. Qatari journalist Ebtesam Aal Sa'ad wrote in the daily Al-Sharq that the riots are divine punishment for France's hostility towards Muslims and for its publication of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. In a tweet she posted she even hoped God would "bring perdition" upon France.

The Qatari press, and especially  the London-based Qatari papers like Al-Quds Al-Arabi and Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, also published many cartoons about the riots in France.   

"The Protests in France" are France's own doing (Al-Sharq, Qatar, July 3, 2023)

This report presents the discourse and cartoons in the Qatari press and social media about the riots in France.

Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister: The Riots Stem From The Marginalization Of Those Who Built France

Qatari State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hamad Al-Kawari tweeted: "The residents of the French suburbs are poor people, some of them with origins in France's former colonies. They form a large portion of [France's] population and have diverse ethnic origins. They are the significant workforce that built France and is still building it. Their economic and cultural marginalization is the main reason for the problems France is facing."[1]

Media Advisor At Qatari Foreign Ministry: Muslim Tourists Should Boycott France

Na'ima 'Abd Al-Wahhab Al-Mutawa'a, a media advisor at Qatar's foreign ministry, called to punish the "racist" European countries, including France, by stopping the Muslim tourism to them. She wrote: "The [summer] vacation has just begun and droves of [Muslim] citizens have already packed their bags, ordered plane tickets and taken out cash for the trip.   Many of them have chosen Europe as the destination for their summer stay. They flock to those countries and spend all the money they saved over the year on entertainment and shopping there, and then come back [home] with their pockets empty and their savings accounts depleted…

"Sadly, those [European] countries are the most hostile to our religion, customs and traditions. They reject them and condemn anyone who follows them. There are limitations on [wearing] the hijab, and women who wear it are exposed to ridicule or even attack by people who harbor racism towards Muslims and Arabs. They [the Europeans] think Muslims are backward terrorists who perpetrate terror attacks and the like. Moreover, some of them scoff at the Islamic rituals and try to distort [the image of] Islam… The people of racist Europe periodically provoke the Muslims by burning the Quran, and no suitable measures are taken against this. [Moreover] an innocent young Muslim has been murdered in cold blood by a racist [policeman] who was supposed to protect security in France. This sparked a storm of rage among Muslims and their supporters who protested against this shameful incident…. Yet despite all this, we flock to these [European] countries [as tourists] and spend our money there.  

"The Muslims should take a firm stance and boycott these countries, so as to deter those who harm Islam and the Muslims. This action should be collective and determined, in order to make [the Europeans] realize the Muslims' status and importance and that it is Arab tourism to their countries that breathes life into their economy and lines their saving accounts… Let's try to revive the Arab tourism to the Arab countries… and deprive these racist countries of our savings and money, so they realize the worth and importance of our peoples."[2] 

France is on fire (Al-Watan, Qatar, July 3, 2023)

Editor Of Qatari Daily: The Riots Stem From Racism; The West Violates Human Rights, Yet Focuses On Human Rights Violations In Arab World

Al-Sharq editor Jaber Al-Harmi tweeted footage of the France riots, and wrote: "The protests that are taking place in France and are accompanied by sabotage, anarchy and looting do not stem from the murder of the Algerian French boy #Nahel at the hands of a policeman. French society lives in a state of tension, and France's domestic policy and racist attitude towards certain sectors in society have exacerbated [this tension] and caused rage accompanied by destruction.  There are violations of human rights and workers' rights, but whenever these violations take place in Western societies, they do not get the attention they deserve in the Western media and they do not exist as far as the Western civil society organizations are concerned. But look what they do in the third world countries, and especially in the Arab and Muslim world. They won't stop talking and reporting about their ostensible human rights violations, and calling to punish them for this, although many of the [reports] are not even credible… True, there are [human rights] violations in many Arab and Muslim societies, but there is nevertheless a double standard here…"[3]

Article In Qatari Daily: The Riots Will Harm France's Cultured And Pluralist Image

Sa'adiah Mufarreh, a Kuwaiti columnist for the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, said that France is now reaping the bitter fruits of its years-long imperialist policy and of the growing racism that exists there despite the attempts to conceal it.  She wrote: "This is not an attempt to justify or encourage violence in any form anywhere in the world, but France should have expected to reap some of the bitter fruits of its policy sooner or later, [a policy] whose repercussions are not over, although imperialism ended a long time ago…

"The responses to the murder [of the Algerian teen] went beyond this particular incident, and [addressed] the entire blood-soaked history of the relations between France and Algeria. This means that the affair is more complicated than mere violence by marginalized minorities – immigrants, naturalized [foreigners] and French citizens of Algerian and African origin – in response to the death of an innocent youth. The fires they are lighting these days all over Paris spring from the embers that are still burning in their hearts due to the French racism they face. [This racism] constantly emerges in many forms and guises, despite all the claims to the contrary and all the attempts to hide its ugly manifestations under tons of modern makeup and to cover up its stink with bottles of fancy perfume. What happened and is still happening in France can also occur, for the same reasons, in other countries where racism thrives...

"Those who follow [the events] assess that the flames of protest [in France] will die down in the next few hours or days. But they will still leave ashes that will inevitably tarnish the image of Paris as the capital of art, literature, fashion and cultural and historical pluralism. For none of these things are worth anything in the face of the blood of an innocent youth who fell victim to the rising tide of racism in the streets!"[4]

The riots in France (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, July 3, 2023)

Media Figures In Qatar: France Is Not  Safe Place To Hold The Upcoming Olympics

Al-Jazeera host Salam Hindawi tweeted:  "Are the Olympic games still [supposed] to be held in France, especially when the security situation [there] is unstable and the scope of violence is growing? Do you remember what the Western media wrote about Qatar before the [FIFA] World Cup? Do you remember how many lies and fake news [they spread],[5] even though the Qatari police never killed any boy in the street!!!"[6]

Qatari media figure 'Abd Al-'Aziz Ibrahim Aal Ishaq addressed the following tweet to the International Olympic Committee: #Paris is not safe to host the Olympic Games due to the spread of crime, racism, child killings, and riots. The #Olympic_Games should be immediately relocated to another country."[7]

Lecturer At Qatar University: France Is Burning And Its Depraved President Is In Crisis

Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti, a lecturer at Qatar University and a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is supported by the Qatari establishment, shared an image of French President Macron looking worried against the background of a burning France, and commented: "After #Nahel, a French Algerian youth, was murdered in cold blood by the French police, #France_is_burning and the depraved Macron is experiencing a new political, security and social crisis."[8]

Qatari Journalist: The Riots Are Divine Punishment For Publishing Offensive Cartoons Of The Prophet Muhammad

Al-Sharq columnist Ebtesam Aal Sa'ad proposed that the riots in France are divine punishment for this county's crimes over the years, such as its treatment of its colonies and its publishing of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. She wrote: "I believe that everything has a reason. France, which spread messages of hate like the offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and insisted on presenting these cartoons in schools while refusing to heed or recognize the rage that gripped [the hearts of] over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, should not have felt safe from punishment that would reach it at some point and in some manner. This punishment would not at the hands of the Arabs or Muslims, either those living within it or those living elsewhere. It would be [France's] own doing. The [policeman] who poured oil on a burning pile of straw was one of the officers in charge of the country's security, a Frenchman born and bred, as the saying goes. Thus, we cannot ignore the grave acts [occurring] in Paris and disconnect them from what Allah secretly intends for this city, although [the punishment] may be delayed. This is Allah's decree, and we Muslims believe in it. We fear the result of these explicit offenses against… the prophet and the role model of the nation – for this is a grave offense that a Muslim regards as inconceivable, unlike the infidels and apostates today, who are not part of us and we have never been part of them.

"In an ostensible coincidence, today's victim was Algerian, and this recalls the long history of mutual hostility between the two countries. [This hostility] stems from the era of French colonialism in this sister Arab country, which, after it was liberated with the blood of a million martyrs, made sure to include in its national anthem certain phrases that [French] President Macron recently condemned, saying that they do not help to develop the ties between Algeria and his country. It seems that God's decree was carefully authored, and perhaps we cannot understand this with our simple human minds – but we shall wait and see!"[9]

Riots are tearing France apart (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, July 2, 2023)

France riots (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, July 3, 2023)

Tweet By Qatari Journalist Ebtesam Aal Sa'ad: May God bring perdition upon France!

Ebtesam Al-Sa'ad also tweeted under the hashtags #Nahel and #France_is_burning: "God have mercy on the Algerian Arab [teen] Nahel. As for racist France, let it have a taste of what it imposed on [other] peoples and countries. May God bring perdition upon it!..."[10]


[1], July 2, 2023.

[2] Al-Sharq (Qatar), July 3, 2023.

[3], July 2, 2023.

[4] Al-Sharq (Qatar), July 3, 2023.

[5] On Western criticism of Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, and Qatari responses to this criticism, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1666 – As World Cup Approaches, Qatar Rejects Western Criticism Of Its Human Rights Record, Hits Back With Accusations Of Its Own, November 8, 2022.

[6], July 1, 2023.

[7], July 1, 2023.

[8], July 1, 2023.

[9] Al-Sharq (Qatar), July 5, 2023.

[10], July 1, 2023.

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