SHAFAQNA – Around 150 people gathered outside London’s Qatar embassy on Sunday to protest Qatar’s funding of terrorist organizations, especially as the Gulf state has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. The rally was organized by the Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI) together with the Israeli Forum Task Force (IFTF), which also staged a flash mob outside the embassy on Friday, comprising some 20 people clad in orange overalls.
The rally marked the start of a campaign to make the general public aware of Qatar’s involvement in terror. Qatar funds Hamas, the terror group which rules Gaza; the Muslim Brotherhood, which launched the coup against ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring and Ahrar al-Sham (Free Men of Syria), the extreme Islamic organization which started the uprising in Syria, and which has roots in Al-Qaeda.
In the wealthy district of Mayfair, populated by financial offices and high net worth residents, protestors waved banners reading: “Say No to Qatar 2022 – Football Fans Deserve Better,” and “Home Goal for Terror – Qatar 2022,” as London cabbies honked their horns in solidarity.
“It’s time for the referee of world opinion to blow the whistle and show a red card to Qatar, to stop the charade of the World Cup being given to them,” said media lawyer Mark Lewis, who uncovered the recent media phone hacking scandal.
“It’s not only too hot to play there, it’s too hot to handle. No one in their right mind could possibly think that Qatar is suitable. Players will be dying of heat exhaustion trying to kick a ball in temperatures beyond anything imaginable. And people are dying while building the stadia,” he added.
Organizers also read out a petition to Qatar’s ruler, 34-year old Emir Tamim bin-Hamad al Thani, urging him to stop funding terror organizations. Attempts to serve the document in person to the embassy were met with no response.
Your Highness’s and Qatar’s financial contribution (to Hamas) was not used to set up hospitals, housing and schools, nor was it used to build bomb shelters and install warning systems for the Gazan people,” read the petition.
It was used to acquire and produce missiles, build terror tunnels and to train children as fighters. Hamas also promotes Shahada, death for a religious cause, while killing as many ‘infidels’ as possible, may they be men, women or children.”
Qatar, the richest country in the world and the leading global supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas, owns the prestigious Harrods department store, the former Olympic Village, the Shard building, no 1 Hyde Park (the world’s most expensive block of flats), some 20% of the London Stock Exchange, 20% of Camden market, shares in Barclays Bank, Sainsbury’s supermarkets and more.
The Emir’s mother is also said to be snapping up properties in upmarket areas in the city.
Qatar is playing a double game – on one hand they buy up prestigious assets in the UK unhindered,” said IFTF director Anat Koren. “They shake hands and curry favor with governments and polite society, all eager to accept their money. On the other, hand a sinister Qatar, one that funds cruel terrorist organizations which aim to kill and maim women and children. Organizations that don’t want peace but that revel in war. Organizations that don’t protect their own women and children but that use them as human shields.”
Qatar has also been a safe haven for known terrorist leaders including Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who uses Qatar as his base, as does Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
Emir al-Thani expelled members of the Muslim Brotherhood this week and denied allegations that wealthy Qatari individuals have backed Islamic State in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Qatar was also implicated in an international corruption scandal in its bid to host the World Cup. British newspaper reports revealed allegations that Qatar paid millions in bribes in exchange for votes to ensure the World Cup was staged there.
The country’s human rights have come under fire, with hundreds of fatalities recorded, as a result of foreign laborers being “worked to death” in inhumane and squalid conditions while building the stadium, highways, hotels and other construction projects designated as World Cup facilities. Some reports predict that at the current rate, an estimated 4000 people will die working on World Cup facilities.
“This isn’t a building problem, it’s a slavery problem,” added Mark Lewis, who has also represented members of the Professional Football Association (PFA). “This is slave labor, often foreign slaves. Laborers, with their passports taken from them, are being forced to do back breaking, suffocating work. Why is FIFA supporting slavery?
If you are female you will have a problem watching a football match in Qatar. If you are gay you will have a problem in Qatar; if you drink alcohol you will have a problem. And yet to FIFA there is no problem,” he added.
“Football fans deserve better than Qatar as the host for such a prestigious event,” said organiser Simon Cobbs of the SFI.
“Given Qatar’s position as a wealthy banker of terrorism, we also have to ask the question if anyone travelling with an Israeli stamp in their passport would be allowed to attend the World Cup. And furthermore, would an Israeli football team be able to enter Qatar? We need to kick Qatar out of the 2022 World Cup.”