European slogans and moral lessons for Qatar reveal hypocrisy.
12 years after being awarded the hosting of FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar launched the first World Cup to be held in an Arab Muslim country on November 20, 2022, despite Western bullying.
The opening of the World Cup came after a series of Western governments, organizations, and companies’ attempts to legalize alcohol and homosexuality.
Western voices defending the rights of homosexuals and drunkard hooligans causing chaos in every football tournament unveiled their real intentions when they criticized the large number of mosques and the sound of the call to prayer (adhan) in Qatar to make it clear that the real goal behind all what they call for is Islamophobia.
However, Qatar did not even bother and continued to implement its plans that were in line with its Arab and Islamic values. It imposed on FIFA a ban on alcohol in stadiums and refused to play along with the homosexual agenda too.
On October 25, 2022, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad, denounced an unprecedented campaign of double standards launched by Western media because of Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup and asked about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.
The controversy over whether to allow alcohol in the World Cup or not has been heated since Qatar took over organizing the tournament, as FIFA laws allow the public to enter the stadiums with beer.
Before the start of the tournament, and with the spread of the tents of the American beer giant Budweiser that were erected around the football stadiums, the organizers of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar rushed to dismantle and move them away, as their presence contradicts Islamic traditions.
On November 18, FIFA acquiesced and issued a statement confirming the ban on alcohol in the 2022 World Cup stadiums in Qatar, avoiding mentioning the reason behind that.
It said that, after several discussions with the Qatari authorities, the federation banned drinking alcohol during matches which means removing all outlets for selling alcohol in the stadiums.
Under the new rules, alcohol will only be available in certain hotels and outdoor fan areas away from the stadiums.
Commenting on this, The New York Times said on November 18 that “Qatar’s about-face on alcohol signaled that FIFA, soccer’s governing body, may no longer be in full control of its showcase championship.”
The American newspaper confirmed that the abrupt directive came from the Qatari royal family.
It described the removal of the famous beer tents as the latest cultural conflict revolving around the World Cup wines because Qatar imposed non-alcoholic beer only in the stadiums.
The Wall Street Journal also confirmed that “the last-minute decision to ban alcohol sales immediately outside stadiums came directly from the emirate’s royal family.”
The American newspaper reported, quoting undisclosed sources, on November 19 that “the Qataris were intentionally ambiguous about what they would allow in regards to alcohol because a firm stance in either direction on the issue risked problems.”
For its part, The Guardian noted on November 18 that the decision was issued at the last minute due to orders from the ruling family, who pressured regulators to ban all alcohol sales and abide by the country’s laws.
Amar Singh, a former marketer for Budweiser US beer in Europe, confirmed to The Drum on November 18 that the company had made concessions to ensure respect for Qatari customs and local laws.
Brazil Gave Up
In 2012, before hosting the 2014 World Cup, Brazil tried to ban the sale of alcohol in stadiums, but it lost its battle with FIFA, which obliged the country to sell beer.
Before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, alcoholic beverages were officially prohibited in Brazilian stadiums, but FIFA insisted on allowing beer in all places hosting World Cup matches, and the country’s parliament grudgingly accepted.
At that time, FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke visited Brazil to pressure the government to prevent it from banning alcohol in stadiums, saying that the sale of beer must be stipulated in the World Cup law being discussed by the Brazilian Congress.
Valcke said, according to BBC, on January 19, 2012, that this is something they will not negotiate because alcoholic beverages are part of the FIFA World Cup, which forced the Brazilian Congress to agree in the end.
Alcohol was banned in Brazilian soccer matches in 2003 as part of efforts to address violence between rival, drunken football fans, and dozens of videos documenting this are spread on social media platforms.
Daily Star commented on the Qatari success, saying that Brazil was subjected to the arrogant demands of FIFA to change the beer laws for the 2014 World Cup and was forced to change the laws on alcoholic beverages, while Qatar succeeded in banning the sale of alcoholic beverages inside the stadiums in the World Cup, due to the contradiction with Islamic teachings.
It said that Qatar’s ban on beer in stadiums led to a problem in FIFA’s relationship with the American beer giant Budweiser, which pays $75 million every four years to participate in the World Cup.
The Soft Power of Islam
It was clear, since the start of the preparations for the World Cup, that there was a Qatari desire to take advantage of the event in order to highlight Islam tolerance and values through a series of measures, so it was contradictory to accept FIFA’s decision regarding alcohol.
Jaber al-Harami, editor-in-chief of Al Sharq Qatari newspaper, confirmed this by saying that the World Cup in Qatar will not only be a sports event but an opportunity to uphold Islamic values. The Qatari organizing authorities placed prophetic hadiths in every corner of the country that show the tolerance of Islam and encourage good deeds and love for others.
It also appointed muezzins with beautiful voices and placed QR codes inside hotel rooms to introduce Islam in multiple languages, as well as brochures introducing the pillars of this religion.
Qatar also invited senior scholars, most notably the preacher Zakir Naik, who converted hundreds of thousands of people around the world to Islam, and Dr. Omar Abdul Kafi, to give lectures to introduce Islam throughout the World Cup.
Observers expected that these efforts would lead through the soft power of Islam, many of the attendees to know the true Islam and why not to become Muslims.
This was indeed confirmed by the preacher Faisal Al-Hashemi announcing the conversion of 558 people to Islam within one week before the start of the tournament.
With the start of the influx of foreign newspaper and satellite TV correspondents into Qatar to report the events of the World Cup, other signs of Western bullying emerged.
A French channel announcer asked the reporter about the festivities in Qatar, to which he replied that there were no problems and everything was beautiful and well organized, except for one problem: “They have too many mosques!”
This was a clear indication of the real reason behind Western bullying, which is Islamophobia.
Talks about the spread of mosques in Qatar, dawn prayers, and human rights prompted the FIFA president to attack the West, saying that Europe must apologize.
At a press conference in Doha on November 18, Infantino accused the West of “hypocrisy” in its reporting on Qatar’s human rights record during the World Cup.
Regarding the ban on drinking alcohol in stadiums, Infantino said that several countries prohibit alcohol in stadiums, such as France, so there is no need for the policy of double standards.
Europeans should apologize to people before giving lessons, and all the European slogans and moral lessons for Qatar were hypocritical, and Europeans have no right to criticize Qatar, according to him.
On November 17, The Economist refuted this Western hypocrisy in a report entitled: In Defense of Qatar’s Hosting of the World Cup.
It said that the Western allegations against Qatar hosting the World Cup were centered around a number of files, including the rights of the workers who built the tournament stadiums, the treatment of homosexuals, and democracy.
The newspaper drew a comparison between the West’s efforts to distort Qatar with flimsy claims. When the 2018 World Cup was held in Russia and China hosted the Winter Olympics in February 2022, no one dared to criticize the two countries’ clear suppression of human rights.
Neither Russia nor China was subjected to those brutal campaigns that Qatar was subjected to.
“At best, Western criticism of the decision to award the games to Qatar fails to distinguish between truly repugnant regimes and merely flawed ones. At worst, it smacks of blind prejudice. A lot of the indignant pundits sound as if they simply do not like Muslims or rich people,” the magazine said.