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Qatar says criticism over it hosting World Cup is anti-Arab discrimination

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani shake hands before the 2022 soccer World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani shake hands before the 2022 soccer World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Qatar’s emir lashes out at what he calls unprecedented attacks on Qatar becoming the first Arab country to host the World Cup.

With the Gulf state facing questions about the treatment of foreign workers, as well as the rights of women and the LGBTQ community, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani acknowledges that Qatar is “not perfect.”

But he insists that it has carried out reforms at “lightning speed” since being awarded the World Cup in 2010.

“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination,” the ruler of the energy-rich state tells the World Economic Forum in Davos. “And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and, in some cases, refusing to get to know us. Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab-Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup.”

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