CAIRO (MEMO) – The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned what it described as an “incitement campaign” targeting Qatar for its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The tournament is due to kick off on 20 November, with the final to be held on 18 December.
The OIC stands by Qatar as the first member state in the Muslim world to host such a tournament, said Secretary-General Hissein Ibrahim Taha. “This carries human and universal significance and seeks to spread the spirit of solidarity and interconnection among countries of the world.”
The OIC statement came in the wake of remarks by the German interior minister regarding Qatar’s hosting of the tournament. In an interview with the ARD network aired last Thursday, Nancy Faeser cast doubt on whether Doha should host the FIFA World Cup. “There are criteria that must be adhered to and it would be better that tournaments are not awarded to such states,” she said.
Taha said that the OIC views this new attack, which emerged as Qatar prepares to host the tournament, to be “not only deplorable but also the first time a host country of this tournament is facing this level of allegations and criticism.”
On Saturday, the General Secretariat of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council denounced the German minister’s remarks and stressed its support for Doha in “addressing any interference in its internal affairs by publishing allegations that do not serve the establishment of normal relations between the two countries.”
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the German ambassador on Friday. Claudius Fischbach was handed an official protest note, expressing Doha’s “disappointment, complete rejection and condemnation of the statements made by Faeser.”