Religious Support for Qatari Labor Reforms Puts Gulf States on the Spot

A panel in Doha of religious scholars, officials of Qatar’s government-sponsored human rights committee, and international labor activists has called on Qatar to radically alter its controversial labor policies.

By James Dorsey

The call serves to support Qatari government promises of labor reform in response to World Cup-related international criticism and increases moral pressures on Gulf states to significantly improve the plight of their millions of migrant workers. By justifying the call on theological grounds and drawing on a parable of Omar Ibn al-Khattab, one of the 7th century’s first four successors of the Prophet Mohammed, widely viewed by even the most conservative or militant Muslims as the righteous caliphs, Sheikh Ali Al Qaradaghi made it more difficult for Qatar and other Gulf states to justify evading radical labor reforms.

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