The American sportswriter Grant Wahl collapsed and died on December 9, 2022 of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. He was respected as a craftsman, and well-liked by those who knew him. But in Qatar, where he died, instead of any expression of sympathy by Qataris, there was an outpouring of venom. More on that intolerable display of gloating and glee at his death can be found here: “Expressions Of Glee In Qatar Over Death Of U.S. Sportswriter Grant Wahl,” MEMRI, December 13, 2022:
The sudden death of senior U.S. sportswriter Grant Wahl, who collapsed on December 9, 2022, while covering the quarter finals match between Argentina and The Netherlands during the World Cup in Qatar, sparked expressions of satisfaction and scorn from elements in the country. This gloating was triggered by Wahl’s former criticism of Qatar over its position on LGBTQ+ rights. On November 21, for example, Wahl tweeted that he had been detained by security for nearly half an hour when he tried to enter a World Cup stadium wearing a rainbow t-shirt. The tweet drew fire from Qatari journalists.
The following are examples of triumphant responses to Grant Wahl’s death and of criticism from Qatari journalists over his tweet from November 22.
Qatari Journalist: Wahl Waged A Relentless Campaign Against Qatar And Ended Up Dying Here, Praise Allah
Qatari journalist Jaber Al-Harmi tweeted on December 12: “[Wahl] waged a relentless campaign against Qatar even before it hosted the World Cup. Then, on the eve of the World Cup, he came here to raise the rainbow flag and aim a barrage of lies at Qatar. He made a ruckus [demanding to be] admitted to the stadiums wearing the LGBTQ+ symbol, which is illegal. And then he died here, praise Allah. ‘No soul knows in what land it will die [Quran 31:34].’”
Wahl’s so-called “relentless campaign” against Qatar consisted of a handful of articles he wrote about the country’s “relentless” homophobia, and just one day before his death, he’d covered the indifference of Qataris to the plight of migrants, tweeting, “They just don’t care. Qatari World Cup organizers don’t even hide their apathy over migrant worker deaths, including the most recent one.” Naturally the thin-skinned Qataris were upset about Wahl; they can’t stand any criticism, especially of their responsibility for the death of 6,500 workers who built the seven new stadiums for the World Cup games. And they take any attempt to point out their homophobia, as he did, as a wholesale assault on Islam.
Also on December 10, shortly after the news of Wahl’s death, Dr. ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari, a Qatari sociologist and social media influencer, posted a video on his YouTube channel in which he derided Wahl and expressed satisfaction over his fate. Calling Wahl a “filthy pig,” he accused him of trying to promote sodomy by coming to the stadium with the rainbow shirt, and added that he was glad of his death and was going to “celebrate over the dead pig’s body.” He expressed hope that Allah would “place him in hell along with the original people of Sodom.”
The video received almost 100k views in less than 24 hours.
Satisfaction over Wahl’s death was also voiced by non-Qatari figures, such as Kuwaiti preacher Hamed Al-‘Ali, who tweeted on December 10: “Thank Allah for gifting us with the death of the journalist Grant Wahl, who was photographed wearing a gay shirt to the World Cup. He died suddenly yesterday in the stadium during the match between Argentina and The Netherlands.”
Qatari Journalists Slam Wahl For Coming To The Stadium In A Rainbow T-Shirt
As stated, Wahl already drew fire from Qatari journalists on November 22 after he attended a match wearing a rainbow t-shirt. Journalist Ahmad ‘Ali, formerly the director-general of the Qatari daily Al-Watan, tweeted: “What you did was a provocation against the feelings of the Qatari people, when you knew our tradition forbids this. If you are [interested] in rights, you should have defended the rights of the Palestinian people, [considering that] the U.S. has used its veto [power] several times to prevent a condemnation of Israel’s violation of their rights. All that is left for me is to staunchly defend your right to get a hair transplant in Turkey.”
Qatari journalist Hassan Hamoud shared Wahls’ tweet about being detained at the entrance to the stadium, and commented in English: “Shut up and follow the roles [sic] of Qatar.”
Yes, the rules of Qatar include the following:
Primo, we Qatari Arabs have a right to treat migrant workers anyway we wish, forcing them to slave away for 14-hour days, seven days a week, sometimes in 120-degree weather, stuffing them into fetid, crowded, insalubrious barracks, and sometimes stiffing them on the wages they are owed. But no foreigner, not least an American like Grant Wahl, should be concerned with how we do things here in Qatar. Know your place, Infidels!
Secundo, Qatari journalist Ebtesam Al-Sa’d responded to Wahl’s tweet in a similar vein, by stating that she was proud of the security officers who had stopped him at the entrance to the stadium and calling on him to respect the law of the land. She tweeted in English: “I am proud of the security… You should have respected the laws of Qatar in prohibiting what contradicts the religion and culture of the our [sic] country. Just as we respect the law of your country you and others must respect the law of my country.”
Let those examples of Qatari Arabs expressing delight in the death of Grant Wahl be remembered, not only by his family, his friends, and the greater fraternity of sports journalists, but by everyone who may have briefly been misled, by all the World Cup excitement and confusion, into believing that Qataris, after all, turned out to be decent folk. They didn’t. They aren’t.