Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has called on Muslims around the world to shun the FIFA World Cup currently underway in Qatar, although the terrorist group stopped short of issuing any threats to carry out attacks or calling for acts of violence.
AQAP, which is an affiliate based in Yemen, condemned the tournament’s host nation for “bringing immoral people, homosexuals, sowers of corruption and atheism into the Arabian Peninsula”. The group also claimed that the event served to divert attention from the “occupation of Muslim countries and their oppression”.
“We warn our Muslim brothers from following this event or attending it,” said AQAP in a statement, according to a report by the SITE Intelligence Group on Saturday, a day before the World Cup kicked off.
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There has been controversy surrounding the event, especially in the west over Qatar’s human rights record, including LGBT rights in addition to social restrictions and a ban on alcohol at stadiums. However, a Qatar government official told CNN in a statement that the host nation was an inclusive country. “Everyone is welcome in Qatar,” the statement read, adding: “Our track record has shown that we have warmly welcomed all people regardless of background.”