CAIRO: In a statement that was cited by a monitoring organisation, Al Qaeda’s regional branch called on Muslims all over the world to avoid the World Cup of soccer being held in Qatar, but it refrained from threatening assaults or endorsing violence in relation to the tournament.
The militant group’s Yemen-based affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, criticised Qatar for ‘bringing immoral people, homosexuals, sowers of corruption, and atheists into the Arabian Peninsula’ and claimed the event was meant to deflect attention from the ‘occupation of Muslim countries and their oppression’.
The message, which was made a day before the tournament begins in a country with a significant Muslim population, stated, ‘We advise our Muslim brothers from watching this event or attending it’. It was published on Saturday by the SITE Intelligence organisation.
In response to criticism of Qatar’s human rights record, which includes LGBT rights and social limitations, the World Cup organisers have stated that everyone is welcome to the event, regardless of sexual orientation or background. The tiny nation of Qatar, home to about 3 million people, the most of whom are foreign workers, claims to have trained more than 50,000 individuals to provide security for the World Cup, with assistance from international troops operating under Qatari command.