Arab-American anchor roasts 'Western double standards' as Qatar World Cup kicks off

by IANS |

Washington, Nov 21 (IANS) An Arab-American anchor roasted what he called "Western double standards," as the 2022 Qatar World Cup kicked off on Sunday.

"From the moment Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, there have been criticisms surrounding its capacity and deservedness to hold the event," said Ayman Mohyeldin, an MSNBC anchor who has long reported on the Middle East and the Arab world, in an opinion piece.

"What has played out over the past several years, and intensified in the final few months before the World Cup's Sunday premiere, reveals the depths of Western prejudice, performative moral outrage and, perhaps most significantly, gross double standards," Mohyeldin wrote in the piece published by MSNBC on Sunday, reports Xinhua.

An Egyptian-born journalist based in New York, Mohyeldin observed "a barrage of negative and quite frankly racist commentary" about Qatar -- a peninsular Arab nation -- hosting the quadrennial international soccer tournament, including on its use of migrant workers to build stadia.

"Is this debate truly about migrant workers' rights and human rights, or is it that European countries and Western pundits, who view themselves as the traditional gatekeepers of global soccer, can't stomach the idea that an Arab Middle Eastern country will host such a venerable event?" he rhetorically asked.

Mohyeldin also underscored "it feels dubious, even disingenuous, to see Western countries and their pundits routinely singling out Qatar" on certain issues without acknowledging them in the United States which has a poor record on human rights.

"I wonder if any of these European and American commentators and pundits grandstanding about human rights will call for the U.S. to be stripped of hosting part of the 2026 World Cup," he continued. The United States, Canada, and Mexico will host the international championship four years later.

"Instead of stopping at accusations against Qatar, Europeans and Americans should set a better example of how migrants in their own countries are treated," Mohyeldin urged.

A recent inquiry, the anchor cited, concluded that France and Britain let 27 people die last year while they argued about who should rescue a sinking vessel with the migrants on board.

In the United States, thousands of migrants seeking asylum at the southern border have been bused by Republican governors to cities led by Democrats this year as "political pawns" in the highly partisan battle over the issue of immigration.

"People have rightfully grown increasingly frustrated by Western moral arrogance and self-righteousness," Mohyeldin added. "I am urging us to be more nuanced in our critiques and resist simply parroting generic biased accusations, without some self-reflection."

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