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The 2022 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony is undergoing criticism from fans pointing to the history of Qatar’s poor human rights conditions.

The Qatari government is facing backlash for their criminalization of homosexuality, treatment of migrant workers and alleged corruption within FIFA. The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, monarch of the country, made a statement during the ceremony welcoming all to the tournament.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

“From Qatar, from the Arab world, I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022," he said during the ceremony. "How lovely it is that people can put aside what divides them to celebrate their diversity and what brings them together all at once.”

These remarks come a few weeks after Qatari World Cup Ambassador Khalid Salman made a controversial statement regarding homosexuality.

“They have to accept our rules here," said Salman. "I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind."

Same-sex relations are considered a criminal offense that can result in a prison time served, a fine or possibly the death penalty.

In addition to concerns about discrimination based on sexuality, the treatment of migrant workers who have built the stadium and are working during the tournament have been raised.

It was reported that more than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died since Qatar won their bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010. Human rights organizations like Amnesty International claim that migrant workers are being forced to live in squalors and are having their wages and passports withheld. They also accuse FIFA of “failing almost completely" to stop the injustice.

Among those who have voiced concerns along with human rights organization are celebrities who have refused to participate or perform in the the opening ceremony. Some of these celebrities include Dua Lipa, Shakira and Rod Stewart.

One celebrity that did not refuse and is facing heat is Morgan Freeman. A section of the opening ceremony included Freeman along with Qatari native and YouTuber Ghanim al-Muftah in which they discussed the beauty of unity and overcoming differences.

Some saw Freeman not turning down the performance as a contradictory slap in the face.

The opening ceremony was also noticeably missing from BBC’s broadcast network station. No explanation was given as to why, but commentators from the network did not shy away from calling out Qatar’s poor working conditions.

Ironically during Jung Kook of BTS’s performance in the opening, BBC Interviewer Ros Atkins spoke with the human rights organization Amnesty International and said: “We’ve never seen a World Cup with a carbon footprint like this before.”

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