Shura Council slam Bahraini Arab Parliament speaker for refusing to condemn anti-Qatar campaign

Regional blocs and countries stood by Qatar while condemning the campaign.

Qatar’s Shura Council denounced on Wednesday the stance of the Bahraini Arab Parliament speaker for “insisting” not to condemn “the malicious campaigns” targeting Doha’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Doha’s state news agency (QNA) reported that the legislative body denounced the speaker’s stance in not joining “the majority of Arab Parliament members and their agreement” to issue a statement on the anti-Qatar campaigns. 

However, the report did not mention Adel Al Asoomi’s name, though social media users pointed to the Bahraini official’s role as the speaker of the Arab Parliament.

“The Council’s office also expressed its utter dissatisfaction with this unfriendly stance that contradicts the principles upon which the parliament was established, and which serves foreign agendas that are not in the interest of the Arab peoples,” added QNA.

Meanwhile, the legislative body praised the support of several regional and international bodies including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The statements by the entities comes amid an ongoing campaign, driven mainly by the west, targeting Qatar for its hosting of the major sporting event.

Since winning the bid in 2010 to host the World Cup, Qatar has faced various reports by western outlets that have used headlines deemed “racist” and “sensationalist” by officials in Doha.

While countries in the region including Kuwait have expressed their support for Qatar’s hosting of the event, Bahrain has yet to make a similar move. However this does not come as much of a surprise considering fragile ties between Doha and Manama.

In 2017, Bahrain had joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt in imposing an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar, triggering the region’s worst diplomatic rift.

While the blockade was lifted in 2021 following the signing of the Al-Ula Declaration, Bahrain has yet to reconcile with Qatar, with little exchanges seen between officials of the two neighbouring states.

In November last year, Bahrain’s Football Association (BFA) condemned Qatar’s “abuse and exploitation” of expats working in 2022 FIFA World Cup construction sites.

In a statement, BFA pointed to reports issued by rights groups detailing abuses of migrant workers, namely Amnesty International’s latest findings.

The association’s statement coincided with the one-year countdown to the long-anticipated sporting event in Qatar. It also came as Bahrain continued human rights abuses against dissidents and Shias at home.

Speaking to Doha News at the time, David Haigh, human rights lawyer and former Managing Director of Leeds United FC, said that the BFA’s denunciation is more politically and diplomatically driven.”

He also said that Bahrain’s comments are “both absurd and the height of audacity” given its ongoing human rights abuses and as a country that does not shrug off criticism of those violations.

Regional solidarity

Meanwhile, regional blocs and countries have stood by Qatar.

On Monday, Kuwait praised Qatar’s “distinguished preparations” for the region’s first ever World Cup.

“The State of Kuwait expresses its support for the sisterly State of Qatar in its hosting of this great international sports gathering. It also places all its capabilities to make this global event a success,” read a statement by Kuwait’s cabinet.

Earlier this month, the Arab League expressed its support for Qatar’s hosting of the tournament, saying it is confident that Doha will hold “a distinguished version” of the event. It also rejected the campaign against Qatar during the bloc’s latest summit in Algeria.

The Union of the OIC News Agencies (UNA) also echoed similar sentiments.

“Qatar’s hosting of this global event, as the first country in the Islamic world and the Middle East, is an opportunity to promote coexistence between different cultures and to highlight the civilised legacy and huge capabilities of the countries of the region,” said the UNA, as cited by Doha’s state news agency.

The UNA added that the campaign “stems from suspicious agendas”. It noted that the information “has been proven false after verification and reference to reliable sources.”

More recently, 35 Jordanian members of parliament called on several global bodies to back Qatar’s hosting of the event. 

The MPs submitted a formal request on Sunday addressing the European Parliament, the Arab Parliament, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Parliamentary Union of the OIC  to issue a statement standing with Qatar.

Adopted by MP Khalil Attia, the memorandum saluted the “brothers in Qatar”, saying the MP’s “always and forever stand by their side in solidarity with their authentic people”.

“In my name and in the name of those I represent in the Jordanian House of Representatives and the Arab Parliament, I affirm that all of us stand with the Qatari brothers in organising the World Cup, which is being held for the first time in the Arab region,” read the memorandum.

Officials in Qatar repeatedly slammed the “racist” motives behind the ongoing campaigns against the Gulf state.

Last month, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said that “no other host nation” has faced this level of criticism.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has faced an unprecedented campaign that no other host nation has received. And we had handled it at first in good faith while considering some of the criticism positive and beneficial,” Sheikh Tamim told the Shura Council in October.

“It soon became clear to us that the campaign has continued and expanded, and includes slander and double standards, until it has reached such a ferocity that many, unfortunately, wonder about the real reasons and motives behind it,” added Sheikh Tamim.

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