A “regional” group of Al Qaeda has urged Muslims around the world to avoid the football World Cup, which will begin today in Qatar. For the moment, the exhortation is not accompanied by concrete and direct threats of terrorist attacks; this at least according to SITE, a US non-governmental organization that tracks the online activity of white supremacist and jihadist organizations.
The attacks on the sporting event come from the Yemen-based militant group, which has criticized Qatar for “bringing immoral people, homosexuals, sowers of corruption and atheism to the Arabian Peninsula”, also saying the World Cup serves to divert attention “from the occupation of Muslim countries and their oppression”.
“We warn our Muslim brothers not to follow or participate in this event,” read the statement, reported on Saturday by the SITE Intelligence group.
Qatar, a small country of about 3 million people, mostly foreign workers, said it has trained more than 50,000 people to ensure World Cup security, with foreign forces making a major contribution under the command of the authorities locals. Of course, significant support will be provided by Turkey, which has announced the deployment of about three thousand agents specializing in public order. The United Kingdom and the United States will not miss their contribution either.
The World Cup is a major tourist bet for a country that welcomed nearly 3 million tourists a year in the mid-2010s. In the coming weeks, football fans will focus on a very small area: seven of the eight stadiums they are in Doha or within 20 kilometres, and just 75 kilometers separate the northernmost stadium (at Al-Khor) from the southernmost one (at Al-Wakrah). In this context, therefore, that of security will be the main challenge.