x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Article on Qatar World Cup was a 'misrepresentation'

A comment writer clarifies his stance on how Qataris could cope with the hectic World Cup events in Doha.

I believe your article on Qatar's successful World Cup bid (Qataris told to plan Mecca trip to avoid World Cup fans, December 6) is a complete misrepresentation. The headline clearly states a position that I do not hold. Nowhere in any conversation will you find a statement from me stating that Qataris should go to Mecca at the time of the World Cup in Doha. I have never claimed this, either publicly or privately, and it is not a view that I hold, even though your article makes it appear that it is my policy for the future.

If anything, my view could not be more diametrically opposed. The people of Qatar, whether they are locals or residents, are among the friendliest, most open-minded and most welcoming people you will find on the planet. Whether they are Arab, non-Arab, Muslim or non-Muslim, Qatar is a true melting pot of people who live with one another in peace and security, and who love Qatar - hence, the jubilation witnessed with the announcement of the World Cup hosting results. Everyone, wherever they are from, has been supportive of the result, and is looking forward to the games on many levels.

In Qatar, we consider the games a gift, so that we can present the peace, beauty, safety and tolerance of the Muslim lands. We consider the games a gift so that we will be able to prove the reality of everything that we say. We consider the games a gift to build bridges between civilisations, and for billions of people to really understand the beauty of Qatari hospitality - a hospitality that is unrivalled in the world.

Ijaz Ahmad, Fanar, Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, Doha


Don't sell America short over China

In reference to Tony Karon's opinion article Navigating the long ebb of American global hegemony (December 27), there are many reasons to understand the extraordinary strengths of the US and for optimism in the future.

The US is the world's largest manufacturer, with a gross output of nearly $5 trillion (Dh18.4, producing 20 per cent of all the world's manufactured goods, a market share it has held for decades while Japan and the EU have had their shares decline precipitously. America produces one-third of all the world's high-tech goods. Manufacturing jobs have been lost in less competitive industries, yet have remained strong in higher value industries.

The US spends 35 to 40 per cent of the world's research and development money, guaranteeing future prosperity. At $15 trillion GDP, it remains by far the largest economy in the world, three times larger than China's. The US is deliberative, self-critical, and self-correcting. It is dynamic and fluid, changing as it needs to - identifying problems and rapidly fixing them.

Its unmatched culture of leading universities, think-tanks, public debates and entrepreneurship, coupled with its domination of technology and science, provides it with extraordinary productivity and potential.

Meanwhile, China will be the first nation to become old before it becomes rich. As of 2010, China has peaked in its labour force. Every year, there will be more retired people than productive workers.

V Mitchell, Abu Dhabi


A British TV ownership dispute

Frank Kane's business comment article Come dancing, but choose your partners carefully (December 29) reported on the Vince Cable scandal in which the UK minister of state for business "declared war" on the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

It is perfectly rational for the British prime minister David Cameron to relieve Mr Cable of his responsibility for the proposed BSkyB TV takeover. It is less rational for Rupert Murdoch and his family to become the sole owners of the network.

Mr Murdoch himself has been a successful newspaper manager, but has never shown any aptitude for high quality journalism or spirit-lifting comment. His more recent efforts in the electronic media have been particularly mundane.

Ask yourself if, after 60-odd years as a principal mass media operator, he has ever achieved anything which could be classed as having made the planet a better and safer place.

Rodney Edwin Lever, Australia


No difference in the taste of meat

The article New EU labelling measure fuels anger (December 26) reported that Muslim and Jewish groups will challenge animal rights campaigners over an EU measure to label hallal and kosher meat.

If there is no scientific basis to say that the "stun" method is more humane than ritual slaughter, how do they defend the position that ritual slaughter should be labelled? Either way, one group imposes their will on the other. Just label everything and be fair about it.

This is just a guess, but I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of non-Muslim meat-eaters couldn't care less. I know if I can't taste the difference, I don't care.

Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi