Billions across the world are watching the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is for the first time being hosted by a Middle Eastern Muslim county.
To further shed light on the Western media’s criticism of Qatar, IQNA reached out to Abdennour Toumi, a North Africa studies expert at ORSAM Center (Center for Middle East Studies).
These “unfair” criticisms waged by the West have “shown arrogance and also a misunderstanding of the purpose of this event,” he said.
Football is no longer just a popular hobby for poor people, he said, noting that it has become a serious economic geopolitical imperative on the world stage.
Answering a question on how Qatar’s programs to introduce Islam could raise awareness about the religion and confront Islamophobia, the expert hailed Doha for “showing the Muslim world values.”
“We are not making any compromises on our values and that is very good for Qatar,” he said.
Toumi noted that driven by an “incomprehensive arrogance”, West and its elites “do not want to get it because they still look at people in the south as their subjects.”
The expert highlighted that the West cannot “impose” its so-called values as “generic values” on the entire humanity.
“The West has been using and to some extent taking advantage of the dark picture of the Muslims,” he said, adding that they always try to associate Arabs with terrorism and anarchy. West does not want to see civility in the Middle East, Toumi said.
“Muslims are very proud of what Qatar has done,” he added.
The criticism would be in place even if the World Cup was set to be hosted by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, the expert noted.
Asked about an insulting cartoon in a French paper on Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, the expert said this goes with “anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments” in France and has been around for more than a decade now.
France recently saw how right and far-right movements used these sentiments to gain more votes in the election, he added.
There is also an anti-Qatari sentiment in France after Qataris bought PSG and showed “good management of the team,” he hinted.
Interview by Mohammad Ali Haqshenas