Doha, Qatar – Last weekend, before leaving Qatar, WorldView today sat down with the country’s top diplomat.. In the opinion of many critics, especially in the West, Qatar’s World Cup will always be a controversial match. Allegations of labor abuse and degrading support for human rights have followed Qatar since it won a bid in 2010 to host the event. Rights groups and journalists have been trying to count the deaths as hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have been registered in major construction projects across the country.
But Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani wants people to have a different perspective. He pointed to the happy scene of the fans celebrating together in Doha, the regional fun driven by the World Cup in the Middle East and the real labor reforms driven by the Qatari government over the past decade.
Part of our Thursday evening conversation with the Secretary of State shows up here. It is edited for clarity and shortness.
Worldview Today: The World Cup began amid a flurry of criticism and criticism. We are now close to the last week of the tournament and how do you feel about being stuck?
Al-Thani: We believe we are under something that has never been before. Some previous World Cup matches have been particularly offensive or unpopular. But this situation in particular has provided a long time since the award. [of the World Cup bid to Qatar in 2010] And the attitude and attitude of some media towards Qatar is really negative and disappointing to our views. They tried to judge Qatar based on facts or not based on coming here and examining the facts.
We believe this is the most inclusive World Cup. There are many people from different countries from different backgrounds who have never been able to enjoy the World Cup. Cup. If you look at the demographics of India, there are Pakistani supporters from Southeast Asia, from the Far East, from Arabia, from Europe, Latin America, Central Asia. They all come here and enjoy football.
Think about the uniqueness of this game in a small country the size of Connecticut. People can participate in four games a day. And this has made the World Cup affordable for many who never dreamed of coming to football, allowing them to attend multiple matches.
Honestly, the best prize for us in Qatar was the way the fans enjoyed the game. We are seeing that on social media or some media outlets that try to report impartially, most viewers are having a positive experience. I’m sure there may be some negative observations here or there. But most of them are talking about how friendly the country is and the people of this country. How kind they are. And this is something we are proud of. We want to show the world that Arab countries in the Middle East are not just at war and in conflict. It also talks about the celebration and celebration of this beautiful game.
There is, of course, a lot of criticism. Surely you recognize the concerns that many outside Qatar have about workers’ rights and potential violations around the World Cup?
We never claim that our country is perfect. We never claim that the conditions of migrant workers are perfect. When these concerns were highlighted, Qatar recognized them and paid close attention. All the reforms that Qatar has implemented in the last 12 years have been implemented. It was filmed in a way that Qatar just ignored the fact that there was a problem that was not the case That no.
In fact, for the past eight years, we have brought together a team of independent lawyers to examine our working conditions and to identify for us gaps and gaps, whether in our law or in the system we have. Here. And we took this report very seriously. We had 120 instructions at the time. Many of these recommendations are addressed in the country of origin of migrant workers. And partly the responsibility of the Qatari government.
We have opened the door for NGOs. No country in the region has adopted an open policy like Qatar has done. Organizations like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International can come here, they can publish their report here. They can not do it elsewhere.
We exemplify in this area the leading change, the leading reform. And unfortunately, despite all this, some NGOs and the media are just trying to attack Qatar without acknowledging or appreciating all these developments that have taken place. It is an achievement for the government system to change in 10 years. Europe has not changed in 10 years. The United States has not changed in 10 years. We have accelerated these changes. And we would also like to thank the World Cup for helping us accelerate these changes.
But [critics] Always point to the government and the responsibilities of the government. They never point to the company. If a situation arises in Europe with migrant workers being exploited, they will blame the companies involved, never the government. No.
Families of dead migrant workers in Qatar await answers
Part of the scrutiny came from a misunderstanding of statistics. As for the death toll of migrant workers, we are provided by the Supreme Committee (the Qatari agency set up to run the World Cup), which does not seem to reflect the full picture in Qatar.
If you look at our statistics, we have published mortality rates every year. It depends on the nationality. We do not categorize by job. But this is the ranking we have been using. And this is a department that was created just a few years ago. We can not expect them to be professional and advertise everything with all the details. And this is a journey that will take time.
With the Supreme Committee … they are disseminating their data. Too many workers die at one World Cup. But for the whole period [of preparation for the World Cup]There are three [deaths]. And this is something that has been said and said many times.
But [our critics] Do not want to listen to the other side. That is our problem. … Consistent in just attacking the country.
You said before the inclusion in the World Cup. But there are questions about the ability of LGBTQ people and their supporters to participate here in Qatar.
“Everyone is welcome,” we said over and over again. What we have requested is for our guests to come here to enjoy football, focus on football, enjoy the culture of We enjoy the country and the hospitality of the country. Just obey the rules, which is what the Catalans expect when they are traveling in another country. Respect our laws and traditions.
We clearly understand: it is not our business that is the background of the people who are coming. Whatever our business’s is, is endangering public safety or trying in any way to offend the public. This is not acceptable. And this applies to LGBT couples or men and women. It is not something that is pointed or directed in one direction or another. We have said that showing love in public is not allowed in Qatar. And this applies to everyone.
The issue is about showing the symbol in public, not love. Why do people with rainbow flags stop at the stadium?
What is happening on this pitch is FIFA law, not Qatar law. Whatever happens outside the pitch is our rule.
What should LGBTQ football fans expect at the Qatar World Cup? A guide.
What is the legacy of this World Cup for your country and region?
The World Cup is just the beginning. It is not the end of the story. First, we give what is historical – with these people coming here and experiencing the Middle East. We are 100 percent sure that it will help a lot in changing the perception of many people around the world about the region. Second, all of these infrastructure Qatar planned ahead of the auction as part of our 2030 national vision. And the World Cup has helped speed up the process to achieve and achieve. It will continue to serve this vision for economic diversification and for our tourism sector to continue to grow.
Have you been attacked by the Pan-Arab solidarity shown in Qatar and across the region in support of Morocco, especially as Did it make its history work?
This is something that makes us very proud that Qatar, this small country, can bring all the Arabs together. And this is the beauty and magic of the game itself, how it brings people from different Arab and non-Arab backgrounds, everyone from all over together. You have never seen this happen in the West, but you see it happen here because there is a common denominator that brings us all together – we believe we all belong to each other. What you see here in Qatar, how the people and the fans came together, it’s really interesting, something I think never seen before. And maybe we will never see it again.
Outside of the match we saw important meetings between your emperor and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Is the World Cup a turning point for your country after Long boycotts and roadblocks Ever had the experience in the hands of some neighbor?
Because of the crisis we have been through, we believe that what should bring us together is more important than what should separate us. We believe in the unity of [Gulf Cooperation Council, a bloc of six Arab monarchies in the region]. This does not mean that we will agree on everything. We are different. Let’s make what we have a common goal. We can not restore everything. We know it will take time. But we see a willingness to be a leader in bringing back the relationships it should have.
We also understand that we are related, even if there are differences of opinion in some policies, it is better to elevate ourselves beyond our differences and focus on the challenges that arise. We see that the world is polar. We see the effects of the Russian war with Ukraine. We see the effects of Kovid. And we see that all these global crises that are happening around us are affecting us directly or indirectly. And if we do not work together to build our integrated systems and integrated resilience, we will not be able to escape such challenges.
There is a perception that part of what is provoking the conflict is Qatar’s independent standing in foreign policy and its support over the years for some actors, especially Islamic political parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Is that a fair perception?
The first half of the perception is the truth: we agree on some policies and we disagree on some policies by giving our assessments and giving their assessments. What we say, what we agree on, let us work together – and what we do not understand Consistent with letting us agree that we disagree. And we respect this disagreement.
But there is this misconception, the second half question that Qatar is choosing a local character to stand for something. This has never been the case for Qatar. We are not biased against Islam or liberalism against secular parties. It is not our business. We are a state. We are not a political party.
Maybe we took specific action, specific policies when the Arab Spring began. [to back elements of pro-democracy uprisings in parts of the Arab world in 2011]. But those steps were not taken until we saw the people of those countries drop bombs or Victims of the massacre. That is when we act together, perhaps not with the GCC, but with other countries.