HE the Minister of Social Development and Family Maryam bint Ali bin Nasser al-Misnad has underlined that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 constitutes an opportunity to convey an honourable image of the Qatari identity and culture, as well as the true image of Arabs and Muslims away from distortion and stereotypes.
She affirmed that Qatar is open to criticism, but it will never bend to attacks aimed at detracting it.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), the minister said this global football event “is an opportunity that we have long waited as Arabs and Muslims to show the whole world our true face away from distortion and stereotypes. We should not feel threatened. We are proud of our culture and religion; this does not negate that we accept others, on the basis of mutual respect.”
“Yes, there may be abuses here and there, but let’s look at the bigger picture, not exceptions.
The broader picture is that we have a historic opportunity in which we will not only represent Qatar, but all Arabs and Muslims,” al-Misnad pointed out.
In this context, she stressed: “Our first and main priority is the success of hosting this event, and giving the coming fans an exceptional experience. As for rumours, accusations and attempts to distortion, we consider them a motivating factor to prove our strength and capabilities, as I mentioned.
“We follow these criticisms with great regret. The problem is not related to criticism; on the contrary, we are open to any criticism that contributes to correcting mistakes. Indeed, Qatar has undertaken many reforms that are in its development interests and are in line with its civilisational visions.”
She recalled the recent speech of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani before the Shura Council on this point: “The campaign tends to continue and expand to include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.”
Al-Misnad emphasised that Qatar is an Arab and Muslim country, and among its most important cultural and civilisational features are generosity and good reception and hospitality of guests. “Yes, we are a country that welcomes everyone, but we are also a country that has its own values, morals and civilisational and cultural context.”
On the social aspect of the tournament, the minister said: “Today, we are already living a historic stage in the path of the Qatari renaissance, and this event will be written in the pages of history to be narrated by coming generations. Today, the eyes of the world are on Qatar to see what has been achieved.
“Now, in these moments, I remember the 12 years that have passed since the announcement of Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup. Since then, concerted efforts have been made by everyone to succeed in this challenge, whether from the government staff and state entities, or through fruitful co-operation with private sector companies, in addition to the valuable contributions of citizens and residents.”
In this context, the minister stressed that Qatar came out stronger after all the challenges and crises it faced, stressing that the success in this event (FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022) is another station on the road to achievements. “We must remember that all we are doing is accelerating the development process to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030 under the direct supervision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani,” she added.
As for the efforts of the Ministry of Social Development and Family in this regard, she explained that the ministry had launched many initiatives, such as “Now is our turn, Now is our time” campaign, given the importance of the social role of the people of Qatar.
She noted the campaign aims to highlight the important role of all people living in Qatar in the success of the tournament, and conveying an honourable image of the Qatari culture and identity; pointing to a wide interaction with the campaign.
In a related context, the minister said the Ministry of Social Development and Family, in co-operation with the Shafallah Centre, announced the operation of the “Muzn” lounge at Hamad International Airport, which is equipped with the latest technology and educational and rehabilitation equipment, aiming to offer the best travel experience that people with autism and disabilities deserve while they are in Qatar.
Al-Misnad also announced that the Ministry of Social Development and Family will launch the “Qatar is accessible to all” website in partnership with Sasol, a website that clarifies all places suitable for people with disabilities in Qatar; explaining that this service serves the people of Qatar, and visitors to the country with disabilities.
She added that the ministry has also directed to support Qatari productive families under the “Home Grown” initiative which has so far served 600 Qatari families. “We have allocated places for these families in Msheireb and fan areas during the World Cup. We have a primary goal, which is to support and appreciate the productive Qatari families. They are our sisters and mothers and one of the pillars of this country, and their success is a success for all of us,” she stressed. On the expected role of citizens and residents in the success of this tournament, the minister said: “We expect a lot,” recalling His Highness the Amir’s speech before the Shura Council that the World Cup “is an occasion in which we portray who we are, not only in terms of the strength of our economy and institutions, but also in terms of our civilisational identity.”
She also pointed to the provision of an audio descriptive commentary service on matches to enable visually impaired and blind groups to enjoy the atmosphere of the World Cup, and be able to follow the matches inside the stadium and enjoy the atmosphere of the tournament.
Al-Misnad added that the Arabic language will be present for the first time in the history of the World Cup, and that the audio descriptive commentary service will also be available for people with disabilities among fans from around the world in both Arabic and English, through a special application on smart devices.
The minister also revealed the provision of sensory assistance rooms inside the stadiums for the first time in the World Cup history, so that the fans with autism and sensory difficulties can follow the matches in a quiet space equipped with the latest assistive technologies, under the supervision of a specialised team of experts.
“This World Cup will see the largest use of sensory assistance rooms at a sporting event of this magnitude in history.
The minister also highlighted the barrier-free experience provided by the modern metro network in all its 37 stations, all equipped with elevators to facilitate the movement of people with special needs, prominent floor markings to guide the blind, and wheelchair-friendly toilets.
On the most prominent fruits and expected benefits of hosting the World Cup, she said: The World Cup represents an important step in the renaissance process which will continue even after the end of this event. Therefore, sustainability was among the priorities of when hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
She underlined that the tournament will leave behind a lasting legacy in various aspects, including securing major sporting events, infrastructure, environment, community development and entrepreneurship, in addition to strengthening Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination in the region.
She felt the success of hosting the largest football event in the world will consolidate Qatar’s reputation as a destination for sports and athletes, which will be reflected in Qatar’s continuity in hosting major international events. (QNA)
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