The world's largest Muslim organisation has thrown its weight behind Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup, hitting back at Western criticism of the Gulf Arab state's dealings with FIFA amid a corruption probe into world soccer's governing body.
Swiss and U.S. authorities are investigating both Russia and Qatar's successful campaigns to stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. In a statement posted on its website, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) criticised what it said was "Western media tendentious campaigns" targeting OIC member, casting doubt on its right to host the event. "The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) stresses its support to the State of Qatar and to all that would ensure its success in hosting the World Cup, as well as to its efforts towards optimal preparations for the event," OIC, which groups 57 countries with a combined population of some 1.5 billion people said in the statement on Wednesday. "It applauds the level of progress reached in the preparations and welcomes Qatar's continued preparations to host the 2022 World Cup," it added. Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah told Reuters earlier this month that criticism of his country was due to prejudice and racism.