Qatar’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Western criticism of the country ahead of the World Cup was “arrogant” and “racist” as the upcoming tournament highlights Doha’s human rights record.
In an exclusive interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that European and Western countries think that Qatar “is not intellectually or culturally prepared to host a World Cup”.
“It is ironic when this tone is used in countries in Europe that call themselves liberal democracies. Honestly, it sounds very arrogant and very racist,” he said.
The foreign minister reiterated Doha’s complaints about “double standards” regarding the country, saying that Germany’s population is “misinformed by government politicians”. He added that the German government appears to have “no problem” when it comes to energy cooperation with Qatar.
The foreign minister is the latest Qatari government official to go on the offensive against Western criticism after years of kickback on the country’s treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ+ community ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which starts on 20 November.
On the job market reforms in Qatar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that “the government is committed to implementing the innovations”, adding that “there will be some gaps, and we will work to fill them. This is an ongoing process that never stops – and will not stop after the World Cup.”
Qatar has faced criticism since it was awarded the tournament in 2010. Allegations of bribery and corruption hampered the bidding process, and the country’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers has been criticized by activists, politicians and football associations.