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France newspaper depicts Qatar football team as 'terrorists'

Racist French cartoon depicting the Qatar national football team as terrorists has sparked outrage on social media ahead of the 2022 World Cup

A French newspaper has published a cartoon depicting Qatar's national football team as "terrorists", sparking outrage across the Gulf country.

The caricature comes days before Qatar is set to host FIFA World Cup 2022, becoming the first Arab and Middle Eastern country to organise the global tournament.

The offensive image published by Le Canard Enchaîné in its October issue shows seven bearded men apparently wearing football jerseys bearing the word "Qatar". They appear to be chasing a football in the sand while carrying machetes, guns, and rocket launchers.

One of the men in the cartoon wears a belt laden with explosives. Five are wearing blue robes and two are wearing black shirts and pants with balaclavas covering their faces.

It termed the Gulf state as an "authoritarian emirate" that enacts laws "to dominate women".

The French caricature has invited a storm of condemnation on social media platforms.

"Le Canard Enchaîné published a despicable cartoon showing its blatant racism and hatred," one Twitter user said. "They describe Qatar as an authoritarian emirate and its national team as terrorists."

Qatar is set to host the World Cup from 20 November to 18 December. It has however come under increased scrutiny and attack as a result of its human rights record.

Last month, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani slammed the "unprecedented campaign" of criticism against the Gulf country in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani also denounced criticism of the Gulf country's hosting of the World Cup as "hypocrisy".

"I think there are some people who don't accept that a small country in the Middle East is hosting such a global event," Bin Abdulrahman said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper.

"The reasons given for boycotting the World Cup do not add up. There is a lot of hypocrisy in these attacks, which ignore all that we have achieved," he added.

READ: Paris cancels public screenings of FIFA World Cup matches 

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