This edition of the upcoming FIFA World Cup will be a “special one”, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said in Davos on Monday even as he highlighted persisting discrimination against Arabs and Muslims that stems from a refusal to understand the people.
“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination, and I have found out that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and in some cases, refusing to get to know us,” he said while addressing the opening session of the World Economic Forum.
“Qatar is just like your own country – not perfect, constantly trying to improve, and full of hope for a brighter future.”
The Amir said here are still people who cannot accept the idea that an Arab Muslim country would host a tournament like the World Cup.
“These individuals, including many in positions of influence, have launched attacks, at a pace never seen before, when a mega-sporting event was hosted by other countries on different continents, despite the fact that each of those countries has its own particular problems and challenges.
“We are so proud of the development, reform, and progress we have made, and we are grateful for the spotlight that the World Cup provided, which inspired us, to make these changes at a lightening-speed,” he said.