Qatar faced unprecedented criticism as host country of World Cup, Emir says

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Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since it was picked as the host of the 2022 World Cup, some of which has amounted to slander, the country’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a televised address on Tuesday.

“We dealt with the situation from the beginning in good faith. We even considered some of the criticism as positive and constructive,” he said.

“But it appears to us that the campaign is continuing and expanding and contains slander and double standards.”

Security forces in Qatar arbitrarily arrested and abused LGBT Qataris as recently as last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday, in the run-up to hosting soccer’s World Cup which has put a spotlight on human rights issues in the Gulf Arab state.

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, and some soccer stars have raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling for the event, especially LGBT+ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

A Qatari official said in a statement that HRW’s allegations “contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false,” without specifying.

Organisers of the World Cup, which starts on Nov. 20 and is the first held in a Middle Eastern nation, say that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome, while also warning against public displays of affection.

via Reuters

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