Doha: With now just 12 days to go until the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the campaign against Qatar took on a racist undertone, as the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine published a cartoon supposedly representing the players of the Qatari national football team.
The newspaper chose to draw the players wearing—beards, turbans, face masks, carrying—swords, daggers, pistols in their hands, with signs of brutality and anger on their faces.
The cartoon was published in “Le Canard Enchaine” issue for the month of October 2022, entitled “Qatar … Behind the scenes”.
The cartoon sparked outrage on social media, as tweeters accused the newspaper of racism, supremacy and Islamophobia.
One of the Twitter accounts, Scary Azari, wrote in Arabic, “For those who do not yet understand the extent of racism targeting Qatar. This is the opinion of a French newspaper about the Qatari football team.”
While Yvonne Steniger wrote, “This picture is a translation of pure Islamophobia, and very wrong.”
Another user wrote in Arabic on Twitter, “They describe Qatar as an authoritarian emirate and its national team as terrorists.”
The publication of the special issue of “Le Canard Enchaine” comes at a time when a group of Western media launched an offensive campaign against Qatar, days away from the start of the World Cup, which included the publication of a group of false news and inaccurate information.
In October 2022, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had said that since winning the honor of hosting the FIFA World Cup, his country has been subjected to unprecedented smear campaigns that no host country has been subjected to.
In a speech he delivered during the opening of the Shura Council contract, the Emir added, “Since we won the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced. We dealt with the matter initially in good faith, and even considered some criticism to be positive and useful.”
Arabs and supporters of Qatar also launched a campaign with the hashtag: “#انا_عربي_وادعم_قطر – I’m an Arab and I support Qatar” to show support for Qatar for being the first Arab country to host this international event.
FIFA World Cup 2022 will start on November 20, with the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and the Arab world.