An unpopular opinion on justice and hypocrisy


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The 2022 FIFA World Cup has been shrouded in political and philosophical debate as people all over the world head into a very Muslim nation.

The West has a habit of focusing on the negative aspects of nations with different belief systems. Instead of acknowledging shortcomings and strengths alike, controversies and scandals take over Western headlines, creating an overarching negative attitude toward certain nations and groups.

A perfect current example is the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. As it has been revealed, Qatar bribed FIFA officials to support their bid. Qatar also has an unlawful system of migrant workers, who were largely involved in building the stadium for the World Cup.

Qatar has anti-LGBTQ laws and also laws prohibiting any public display of affection. They also decided not to serve alcohol in the stadium, as per Islamic principles. I think this is partially because one of Qatar’s primary goals in inviting the world to their country is to teach the world about their Muslim culture and the Islam religion.

England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands decided they were going to wear OneLove anti-discrimination arm bands to show support for the LGBTQ community in Qatar, who face discrimination and prosecution. However, the teams announced that their captains would not be wearing the arm bands after FIFA threatened to give yellow cards to teams that participated.

These teams–and indirectly, these nations–want to change what they believe are unjust laws, but the possibility of a man kicking around a ball and getting a warning is enough to end that support. It’s hard to understand how ideals like freedom, liberty and equality, ideals the West is known for, are not worth more than a game. For these teams, support for LGBTQ communities extended to wearing an armband, but even that small act was rescinded at the first sign of conflict.

Qatar supporters clapped back against Germany in particular, as the team had protested the ban by covering their mouths to indicate being gagged by FIFA. Several Qatari fans covered their mouths in a similar manner and held up pictures of a former German player who quit the team after facing racist abuse and blame for the German team not progressing in the 2018 World Cup. The player, Mesut Özil, is of Turkish descent, and said during his exit, “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.”

Fans of Qatar highlighted the hypocrisy of how Germany could not recognize the violation of Özil’s right to freedom and equality, nor could they see the racism or discrimination he faced at the hands of Germans simply for being Turkish and Muslim.

These double standards showed again when a protester invaded the pitch during a match between Portugual and Uruguay. Typically, cameras and media are told not to give people running onto the field the attention they are looking for. However, when a protester invaded the pitch during the World Cup, holding a pride flag and wearing a shirt that said “Respect for Iranian women,” on the back and “Save Ukraine” on the front, this rule was disregarded.

In fact, the man, identified as Mario Ferri from Italy, gained attention on most modern news outlets. He posted on his Instagram story, calling himself the “new Robin Hood” and claiming, “We want a free world that respects all races and all ideas.”

Frankly, the media is supporting lawlessness in Qatar just because their laws have been deemed wrong by us. But who gave us the right to criticize these laws? I think much of the U.S. is still stuck in the belief that we have an innate moral superiority because we are a free country. However, America is no longer the only successful democracy, nor is it the only country where its citizens have rights. We are not the moral arbiters of the world, no matter how much we would like to think so.

While my intention is not to argue in support of or against the LGBTQ community, or to attack or defend Qatar, I do find it ironic and hypocritical how people become so ‘just“ and ”good“ and “civilized” when beliefs opposing their own are in question. There are double standards for countries that don’t follow the Western model.

Russia invaded Ukraine on the basis that they believe they have a historical claim to that land and faced international condemnation, but when Israel continuously creeps further into “Palestinian territory” with a similar rationale, Western institutions are mostly silent.

We vocally support women protesting what we view as morally repressive laws in Iran, but women in France, India, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and Sri Lanka–countries that have hijab/burqa bans or are debating creating such bans–don’t have the same support.

Issues in Muslim countries should not be ignored or excused. I merely wish to point out how hypocrisy and double standards drive the unspoken Western need to create justice and equality throughout the world.