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Qatar likely to be stripped of 2022 FIFA World Cup responsibilty

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FIFA_World_Cup_2006_-_GER_vs_SWE

London: According to a FIFA whistleblower, Qatar is likely be stripped of the 2022 World Cup. She was a former senior figure in the country’s bid team.

Phaedra Almajid, who turned whistleblower to expose the corruption, has said that the abundance of evidence of wrongdoing of Qatar’s bid would force world football’s governing body FIFA to strip the Gulf country of the responsibility.

Almajid is an Arab-American based in the United States and she had worked for Qatar’s 2022 bid team till early 2010.

Qatar shocked the world by winning the right to stage the 2022 event in 2010. Since then allegations of bribery and wrongdoing about their bid have been rife within FIFA.

Almajid said that she hoped justice is done but the prospect scares her a lot as she fears some “extremists” may hold her responsible if Qatar is stripped. She is under protective custody of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but fears for her safety, if the oil-rich country lose out on hosting rights.

“There are people who are p***** off with me (for speaking out), and what really p***** them off is that I’m a female, Muslim whistleblower,” Almajid was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Saturday.

She also said that outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter might take away the 2022 tournament from 2022 as part of his reform agenda to win him praise “and save his skin”.

Blatter quit days after winning a fifth four-year team to become president after getting engulfed in the FIFA corruption scandal. He is under investigation by the FBI for possible wrongdoing.

“I just don’t think Blatter actually intends to quit. Everything he does is very calculated. He’ll try very hard to save himself, I’m sure of it,” Almajid said.

The FBI arrested seven top FIFA officials and indicted 14 people for financial misdemeanor. Almajid said that efforts to force her into retracting her comments have taken place earlier, which forced her to take protective custody for the fear of her family’s safety that includes two children, one of them severely disabled.

“The FBI have everything,” she claimed.

Almajid also co-operated with a FIFA-funded probe led by Michael Garcia, a former US attorney for New York. (IANS)

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Why are Ordinary Citizens becoming ‘Extremists’?

Factors of people dwelling into extremism

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Extremists
Extremists (Representational Image)

Oct 1, 2017: The 21st century is witnessing more and more of extremism, in the form of both verbal and physical assault. The phenomenon of showcasing extreme support is visible in many countries. Groups like ISIL target extremists and through them conduct violent activities in the name of defending ‘Islam’ and Muslim communities.

Who are Extremists?

A person who has extreme political or religious views and lacks the quality of being ‘objective’. The actions of extremists may often be aggressive and violent. Various organisations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have gauged the factors of people resorting to such measures.

One may wonder as to why do extremists resort to aggression and violence in the name of religion or ideology? What could lead to someone dwelling into such actions? Apart from education and poverty, there are factors which result in such behavior. Various studies and researches indicate factors- loneliness, depression, and need for societal acceptance as some of the reasons.

The FBI in one of its reports has stated some vulnerabilities which lead to terrorists or extremist groups.

Also Read: Muslim Population May Take Over European Dominance In the Coming Decades

The following factors make people more prone to believing in such ideology:

1. Feeling of loneliness.
2. Emotional distress.
3. Hatred towards a sect of society.
4. Disagreeing with governmental policies.
5. The need of being accepted in the society.

Terrorist organisations are in search for these people only. While the reasons for becoming an extremist is mostly a mystery, but terrorist organisations recruit the ones who have these vulnerabilities, as these factors are directly related to a person’s psychology and conscience, and the game can certainly be won by playing with the person’s psychology. These people are dehumanizing those who do not fit into their view, and as mentioned before this extremism is leading to terrorism. Extremism in India, which has lead to terrorism is prevalent in conflicted areas like Jammu and Kashmir, where Islamic militants are conditioning and instigating the citizens of the state to raise their voice against their nation.

The rising extremists is a grave concern that commands immediate actions to be taken. The present actions determine that the future may be very bleak. We need a future which has humanity and objectivity. Extremism needs to be beaten through the power of knowledge, education and right information.

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US Public Schools are Teaching Arabic Language and Receiving Aid from Qatar Foundation International, But Why?

Qatar Foundation International gave money amounting to $30.6 million over the past 8 years to Public Schools in America

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Arabic language, Qatar
US Public Schools who Teach Arabic Language are Receiving Aid from Qatar Foundation International. Pixabay
  • Qatar Foundation International provides support to initiatives that either create or encourage the growth of Arabic Programmes
  • Other Arab nation’s benefactors have made donations in the past to American higher education
  • Schools which received the donations praised the support they got from the foundation

Washington, D.C., August 27, 2017: There are some public schools in the US which offer the students an opportunity to learn Arabic language in their schools- such schools have been receiving funding from Qatar Foundation International, the US arm of the foundation. It’s problematic as Qatar allegedly supports the terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar and its alleged ties to terrorism

Qatar has recently been in news for its alleged ties to terrorism for which it had to face some serious diplomatic standoff. Over a period of 8 years, Qatar Foundation International gave money amounting to $30.6 million to more than 12 schools from schools in New York to those in Oregon. They are also providing their support to initiatives that either create or encourage the growth of Arabic Programmes like paying for teacher’s salaries, training, and educational material as well.

Qatar Foundation’s plan of expansion 

According to The Wall Street Journal report, Omran Hamad Al-Kuwari, Executive Director of the Qatar Foundation’s CEO office said “We are going to definitely look at ways to expand in the future. We’ve been quite surprised about the interest.”

Other Arab nation’s benefactors have donated in the past

Other Arab nation’s benefactors have made donations in the past to American higher education but Qatar Foundation International is amongst the few organizations whose target group for grants is K-12 (schools which have classes from kindergarten to 1st -12th  class) public schools. The foundation seeing the increasing interest of American students in learning Arabic wants to increase the amount they are spending.

Though the foundations have donated a large sum of money, still it’s lower than the donations from the American supporters of K-12 education like Walton Family Foundation which donated $190.9 million the previous year.

ALSO READ: Why are the Arab countries Cutting ties with Qatar?

Arabic is the 2nd most spoken language by American students

Schools which received the donations praised the support they got from the foundation. According to a review of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “After Spanish, Arabic is the language most spoken by students learning English as a second language at U.S. public schools, and the percentage of speakers is growing at a faster rate than other top languages.”

But there are some people who are speaking about the foundation’s ties to Qatar. They said, “Its co-founder and chairwoman, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is the mother of Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.”

Qatar denied Arab countries allegations of its ties to terrorism 

Qatar said that on 24 August that it is sending the country’s ambassador back to Iran to intensify diplomatic relations with its Arab neighbors. The Arabic countries demanded Qatar that it reduces its ties with Tehran, claimed that the country has aided extremists and also gave shelter to Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. But, Qatar has denied the allegations made by the Arab countries.

Donald Trump criticized Qatar publicly

In June 2017, American President Donald Trump supported the stand taken by Arabian countries and criticized Qatar publicly, The US has had prolonged difficulties with Doha. The US has a military command at the base in Qatar. Washington has often accused Qatar that it fails to figure out where the financing of militant groups comes from. This criticism is also directed at other countries also, including Saudi Arabia.

There are some parents and community members in cities like Portland, Ore, and Houston who have raised their voice about Arabic Programmes which are being supported by the Foundation (and its ties to Qatar). However, the biggest protest has come from activists, groups, and bloggers with orthodox views.

Protest from a Houston activist

Sam Herrera, 2 years ago coordinated a protest in Houston on the opening of a public Arabic immersion school which allegedly received funding from the foundation. He is an activist from Houston who works against illegal immigration.

“They’re not going to overtly come out and tell you what they’re doing,” said Sam Herrera. He thinks that the foundation’s ties to Qatar, the country which allegedly supports the terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood. However, he could not point to any evidence of such activities going on within the school. He couldn’t prove it.

When asked to comment on comment on the Qatar Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education didn’t say anything.

Al-Kuwari, Executive Director of Qatar Foundation denied the allegations

Mr. Al-Kuwari denied concerns relating to the foundation being tied to extremist groups. He said “There’s a lot of PR wars going on. Everybody that comes to Qatar knows what we are about.”

ALSO READ: Gulf Countries assure welfare of Large Indian Diaspora amid Qatar Crisis

The foundation has not disclosed the sources from which it receives funding. Its aim is to serve the Qatar population in community development, science, education, and research. Doha, capital of Qatar has many K-12 schools, universities, also having foreign campuses of 6 American colleges.

Mr. Al-Kuwari said that the foundation’s U.S. wing is created as “a way of giving back” for U.S. satellite universities which help to develop Qatari society and people.

Parents at the Houston immersion school said: school is totally secular

Some of the parents at the Houston immersion school answer back to critics’ allegations. Kinan Romman, who has a child at the school said, “The school is totally secular. It’s a state-funded school. It gives kids an amazing competitive advantage in the business world, and it breaks down cultural barriers,” mentions The Wall Street Journal report.

Are the Arab countries Foundations using the donation to spread Islamic extremism?

It is not the first time that foreign involvement in U.S. public schools has drawn concern. Foreign donations are a common occurrence at the university level and benefactors belonging to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia have faced allegations like these. They are being accused of spreading Islamic extremism through a medium of donation.

Last year, in Texas, the state education agency undertook an investigation into the Turkish government’s allegation that a charter school operator was part of a huge ‘multimillion-dollar plan to fund causes for an exiled Muslim cleric’. But the agency was not able to find any wrongdoing.

History of donation by Qatar Foundation International 

In the school year, 2009-10 Qatar Foundation International made its first contribution which was of $625,000 in support of U.S. public schools. In the school year, 2017-18 the organization gave $3.8 million whereas in the previous year it gave $3.2 million.  In the school year, 2014-15  it gave $5.5 million.

The foundation usually looks for schools to apply for grants, though schools sometimes also look for such foundations. In 2013, the Tucson Unified School District got a $465,000, multi-year grant to cover materials, cultural events and teacher salaries, for 2 schools, as well as various other grants, the total of it was $175,243, and they received the grant so as to expand its Arabic program.

In Portland, Oregon, the public-school system received around $375,000 for over 5 years, it started in 2010, and in 2017 it received $75,000 grant, which will help to pay for Arabic programs at 2 schools. The foundation was also responsible for funding a trip for some students and staff to travel to Doha.

Schools which received donations praised the foundation

The Principal (of one of the participating schools) Lincoln High School, Peyton Chapman said: “It’s one of the most supportive partnerships that I’ve ever experienced in 20 years of public education.”

Amongst the first schools that signed on with the Qatar Foundation in the year 2009 was The Washington Latin Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Martha Cutts, the retired headmaster said, “I readily accepted the foundation’s offer to fund an Arabic program at the school.” According to the foundation, since 2009, Washington Latin has received around $1.04 million from them. Ms. Cutts said “The program has grown every year. I think it allows for our students to be better-informed citizens.” She said that the foundation officials are actively involved in the school; they provide professional development and also visit classrooms.

Through the program students learn about the Arabic language, their culture, take cultural trips which include visiting the Qatari embassy in D.C.


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Why are the Arab countries Cutting ties with Qatar?

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis

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Arab Countries
Map of 6 Countries- Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates
  • Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar
  • Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however, Qatar did not support the rationale of the Saudis
  • Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement

By Naina Mishra

June 10, 2017:

Background

Four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates– severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism. The Saudis, the UAE, and Bahrain have given the Qataris two weeks to leave, and only 48 hours for its diplomats to quit. This has resulted in fall of the stock market by 7.2 percent. Qatar is energy-rich country, however, it remains heavily reliant on Saudi Arabia for food and other commodities that are traded across borders.

Last month in May, US President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and censured Iran – adversary of Saudi Arabia. An impulsive reaction from a Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani came forward where he questioned U.S. hostility toward Iran and claimed tensions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The quote from the leader spread widely and induced anger among the Saudis.

Past: Saudi and Qatar Relationship

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are both the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which insinuates that the relations were in the mild phase previously. The two countries also share several common geopolitical interests as well. In Syria, both the countries support the rebel groups who want to overthrow Bashar-al- Assad government.

The Bone of Contention: Why was Saudi Arabia fumed at Qatar since 2011?

Rise of Muslim Brotherhood

Saudi Arabia did not support the “Rise of Muslim Brotherhood” which initiated with the ‘Arab Spring’ and fall of Egypt leader back in 2011. Saudi primarily prefers political stability in the Arab nations so that it can use it against Iran. Saudi wanted to lead the group of six Arab countries, however Qatar, unlike UAE and Bahrain, did not support the rationale of the Saudis. Qatar conversely has always supported the rise of Muslim Brotherhood. In 2013, Qatar supported the fall of the draconian regime of Egypt brazenly which infuriated Saudi Arabia and as a result of which the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi cut the diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Gas reserves: Iran and Qatar Relations

There is a great demand for Gas reserves in the present world. Qatar is known to have massive gas reserves. The South Pars/North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s largest natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar. Qatar thus maintains a cordial relation with Iran to extract natural gas under the Iran’s premises.

Animosity Sprouts: Qatar – the world’s Richest Nation

The wealth that followed after export of Natural Gas turned Qatar into the world’s richest nation and the largest LNG exporter. The rising wealth of Qatar envied the neighbouring nations of the country. Qatar began to form their own foreign policies, build warm relations with Iran and support Hezbollah in Israel.  Recently, Qatar invested $2bn in Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft. The recent development by the Qatari government maddened Saudi Arabia even more.

ALSO READ: Gulf Countries assure welfare of Large Indian Diaspora amid Qatar Crisis

Donald Trump Effect on the New Development

During the U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. Iran is expected to run a nuclear program which is not welcomed by Israel, an ally of US. On the other side, Qatar publicly disagreed with the US and Saudi in a statement which the government later said was a result of hacking.

The ban on Qatar is the result of retribution by Saudi so that Qatari government works on the lines similar to that of Saudis.


–  by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94