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MSNBC Host Asks if There Will Be Calls for US to Not Host World Cup for 'Trying to Ban the Word Gay'

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With Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, its record on LGBT issues has led to criticism of the country.

But one MSNBC host believes there could be a double standard regarding how the Middle Eastern country is treated for its human rights track record compared to the United States.

On Sunday, the network’s Ayman Mohyeldin said, “No one is saying Qatar is perfect. But I’m urging us to be more nuanced in our approach.”

He went on:

“While it’s fair to criticize Qatar, I wonder if this debate is truly about migrant workers’ rights and human rights, or is it that European countries — who view themselves as the guardians as global soccer for their own selfish economic purposes — can’t stomach the idea that an Arab, Middle Eastern country will host this venerable global gathering.”

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Mohyeldin added, “I wonder if any of these American pundits grandstanding about human rights will call for the U.S. to be stripped of hosting the 2026 World Cup for the way elected leaders in this country and our judicial system in this country have rolled back reproductive rights, or are trying to ban the word gay in public schools, or even ban books.”

He also blasted pundits for lumping Qatar in with Russia and China as countries accused of “sportswashing” — the practice of using sporting events as propaganda tools to bolster their image.

Do you think the U.S. should host the World Cup?

“To suggest Russia and China, which have been accused of war crimes and genocide respectively, yet who are both allowed to host the World Cup and the Olympics are in the same camp as Qatar is dubious and disingenuous,” he insisted.

We can debate whether Qatar, with its reported arrests and detention of members of the LGBT community, puts it on the same level as Russia and China.

But even if you do not like laws in the United States regarding abortion or LGBT issues, there is a stark difference between the consequences of violating those laws in the U.S. and Qatar.

As The Washington Post noted, the “vast majority” of laws restricting abortion in the U.S. “aim punishments only and expressly at the provider,” and do not lead to women being thrown in prison.

By contrast, a woman in Qatar could face up to three years in prison if they receive an abortion that was not deemed a medical necessity.

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While Mohyeldin was calling out pundits over dubious arguments, he made his own dubious claim: politicians are trying to ban the word “gay” in schools.

This appears to be a reference to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law which the media falsely labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The law bans “classroom instruction” of “sexual orientation or gender identity” between kindergarten and third grade.

Nowhere in the legislation is the word “gay” mentioned, nor does it ban the word in schools. However, Mohyeldin just threw that claim out there as though it were a fact.

The United States is not perfect. No country is. But it is a lot freer than other countries on the planet. And it is constantly striving to be a more perfect union. So perhaps before you go off suggesting pundits should be calling for it to be stripped of hosting the World Cup, you should make sure your arguments are accurate.

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