Roshan Muhammed Salih says it’s time to speak out against the Western hypocrites and cultural imperialists who are using the World Cup as an excuse to slam Qatar, and by extension every Muslim in the world.
Over the past few months I’ve watched and listened while a bunch of Western hypocrites have slammed Qatar over human rights abuses, repeatedly vowing to break Qatari law by wearing rainbow armbands and drinking alcohol etc.
The argument of Western politicians, dopey footballers and ignorant, self-righteous celebrities goes something like this: Qatar is unfit to host the World Cup because it treats migrant workers badly, it outlaws homosexuality and it is a dictatorship, and so on and so forth.
And footballers like Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson have gone further than mere rhetoric. They have repeatedly pledged to break Qatari law by wearing rainbow armbands during matches, something which would ensure arrest and deportation under normal circumstances.
But while there are undoubtedly legitimate criticisms of Qatar to make, where were these hypocrites when the UK was bombing, invading and occupying Muslim nations? And did any of them oppose playing football matches in Apartheid Israel with its well-documented record of oppressing the Palestinians?
So why is it that a Muslim nation such as Qatar deserves this level of vilification when far worse human rights abusers (such as the UK) get a free pass every time?
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I’m not pro-Qatar
Now right off the bat let me say this clearly – I am not a propagandist for Qatar. In fact, I think some of the criticisms levelled against the Qataris are more than justified, especially the appalling treatment of Asian migrant workers.
I have lived in Qatar so know the country well. And my biggest gripe against it is something that never gets mentioned – the presence of a massive U.S. air base in the nation which was used to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan and which is still used as America’s launch pad for threatening and intimidating the Muslim world.
The mere presence of this military base in the heart of the Middle East is an affront to the sovereignty of the region and Qatar’s rulers have facilitated it. They have literally let the Ummah’s biggest enemy right into our backyard. Unforgivable.
Secondly, the majority of Qatar’s population – South Asian migrant workers from places like Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka – are indeed treated terribly. These are the people who have literally built the roads, buildings and infrastructure which have made Doha the modern metropolis that it is today. And they have done so toiling in 50 degree heat while living in slum-like accommodation and being paid measly wages (if they are paid at all).
For more on the terrible plight of the Asian labourers in Qatar see here.
And then there is the whole social hierarchy in Qatar which can only be described as racist. Let me try to describe it for you in general terms because there will be exceptions to what I am about to say.
At the top are the Qataris, some of whom enjoy incredible wealth and the rest of whom enjoy a cradle-to-grave existence on generous government handouts while doing little to actually earn them.
Then there are the mainly white, non-Muslim Westerners who can enjoy a better lifestyle than they have back home as long as they toe the line and don’t ask pesky questions.
Then come the educated Arab professionals from places like Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon who earn much more money than they can back home but definitely not as much as the white Westerners.
And at the bottom are the south Asian labourers who are considered sub humans by many Qataris. And it makes no difference if they are Muslim or not; they’re still considered to be the lowest of the low.
On the other hand, we must balance this by admitting that Qatar has so far avoided the worst excesses of its neighbours Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain – who have all totally sold out to the West and Israel.
Qatar’s sponsorship of Al Jazeera satellite channel, many would argue, has been its biggest contribution to the Ummah. I have many criticisms of Al Jazeera but have to admit that the Arabic channel, especially, has effectively championed Muslim causes from Palestine to Afghanistan to Iraq in a way that few others have done.
Qatar has also sponsored Muslim groups around the world – such as the Muslim Brotherhood – which have championed an unashamedly Islamic agenda. And it has backed the Palestinians financially with its oil and gas money to a greater extent than any other Muslim nation.
Demands on Qatar
But the demands that the West is placing on Qatar exceed those on any World Cup host nation before them.
Humiliatingly, Qatar has literally been ordered to change its laws. For example, homosexuality is outlawed in Qatar as per Islamic teachings which are followed by 1.6 billion people. Yet Doha has been persuaded to allow public displays of homosexuality during the World Cup.
And alcohol is banned in Qatar (apart from in restricted areas) as per Islamic teachings followed by 1.6 billion people, but Qatar will nevertheless allow foreign fans to drink alcohol during the World Cup.
Have any of these Western hypocrites stopped to think how insulting this is for Muslims who believe that Muslim-majority nations should abide by our own laws and customs? Do we insist that the UK stop bombing us or prohibit alcohol and gambling before they can host international football tournaments?
Was Russia asked to end its involvement in military action in Syria before it hosted the World Cup in 2018? Was Brazil ordered to end poverty and inequality in 2014? Going back further, was France ordered to stop oppressing Muslims before the 1998 tournament, and was the USA ordered to stop bombing anyone it didn’t like in 1994?
Ah yes, but we are constantly told that international sport is “apolitical” so Muslim sportsman will get fined and banned for waving “Free Palestine” flags or refusing to play against Israeli opponents.
Well all that went out of the window when the West decided its crazy war against Russia must be backed by international sport; and its campaign to force LGBTQ culture on all of us must be fronted by the world’s most famous sportsman.
What Qatar should do
So what would I like to see Qatar do?
Ok gloves off. I would like Qatar to tell FIFA and all these Western hypocrites to get stuffed. Yeah, stuff the World Cup if it means compromising one iota on our deen. And I would like to see them arrest and deport anyone who breaks Qatari law, as they would under normal circumstances.
In short, I would like to see them stand up for Islamic values and to give Muslims a sense of pride and dignity which the West wants to strip away by constantly pushing us around.
Will they do this? Of course they won’t. Because for Doha the World Cup is a massive ego boost and another opportunity to squander the Ummah’s money.
But I can but dream that one day one of our leaders will develop a backbone. Until that time, the least we can do is call out hypocrisy when we see it.
You can follow Roshan on Twitter here.