GENEVA, September 19, 2022 — Despite a massive lobbying campaign, oil-rich Qatar’s ambassador Hend Al-Muftah lost her bid to become chair of the upcoming U.N. Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, in wake of an outcry over her tweets calling Jews “our enemies” and gays “disgusting.”
Instead, Patricia Hermanns, the ambassador of the Bahamas, was named to the post.
The Qatari diplomat’s long record of antisemitic and homophobic tweets were exposed by UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring organization based in Geneva.
In a letter sent last week to the President of the Human Rights Council (see below), UN Watch urged the United Nations to oppose Qatar’s bid to become chair of the human rights forum, which opens in the same week Qatar hosts the World Cup.
“We commend council president Federico Villegas for doing the right thing and rejecting Qatar’s ambassador of hate,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
“Hend Al-Muftah is a rabid antisemite who over a decade has been tweeting vile hate against Jews and gays, while spreading malign conspiracy theories about Western countries. She is the last person in the world who should head a UN forum on human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” Neuer added.
Qatar’s chances of winning the post were high due to its influence at the UN in Geneva. Qatar sponsored a $20 million “Hall of Qatar” next to the UN Human Rights Council chamber, and its GDP dwarfs that of Bahamas and Togo, its two competitors for the post.
President of Human Rights Council
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10
12 September 2022
Dear Mr. President,
Today as you open the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, I write on behalf of United Nations Watch to express our grave concern at the nominationof Qatari Ambassador Hend Al-Muftah to become Chair of the United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, an appointment that you are due to make imminently, ahead of that assembly on November 24-25, 2022.
As detailed below, and in a new report published today on our website, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva has a long record of publishing racist tropes about Jews, bigoted attacks on gays, and disinformation and conspiracy theories about Western societies and liberalism.
Mr. President, Ambassador Al-Muftah’s numerous bigoted posts over more than a decade stand in complete contravention to the principles and values of the UN Forum which she seeks to lead, and of the founding charter of this Human Rights Council.
That Ms. Al-Muftah was awarded a Master’s degree from SOAS in 1999 and a Ph.D. from Exeter in 2004, has held several high teaching and management positions at Qatar University and the Doha Institute for Graduate studies, was classified as the most influential social media person in 2016 in Qatar, was appointed to Qatar’s Shura Council, and honored by the British Council in 2019—and yet none of this inhibited her ignorant comments, systematic incitement of anti-gay bigotry, and spreading classical tropes of antisemitism including accusing the Jews of world domination—is a sad comment on those institutions.
Yet now that Ambassador Al-Muftah’s bigotry is documented herein, we trust that you will take the necessary action.
“Jews rule the world” & “American Zionists control the U.S media”
Ambassador Al-Muftah writes that “the Jews” focused investments in industry and media, “and that is why they dominated, tyrannized and ruled the world.” Again, says Al-Muftah, “the American Zionist controls the U.S. media,” and “thus it is well-targeted for achieving their anti-Islam everywhere!” This hatred, she recalls, was instilled in her from the beginning: “We learned from a young age that the Jews are our enemies!”
Again, Ambassador Al-Muftah added on another occasion: “I only remember our daily morning anthem from my childhood: Palestine is our country, The Jews are our enemies, And salute to the flag.”
This life-long hatred of Jews as enemies has gone so far as to include calls for violence. Last year, in May 2021, Al-Muftah wrote: “Oh God… turn the Zionists away from them, blind their eyes and paralyze their hands…” Earlier, she calledfor the “expulsion of Jews from Palestine.” This, she stressed, is “not only an important issue for the Palestinians, but our cause all, including you, me and us!”
Expulsion is only the beginning. In December 2017, Ambassador Al-Muftah posted a viral antisemitic video featuring a child calling to trample the corpses of Jews, in which the latter says: “You sons of Judaism… By God…We will liberate Palestine, we will expel you and trample the last corpse of a cursed Zionist in Gaza with our honorable feet, God willing.”
Moreover, Ambassador Al-Muftah has spread multiple, dangerous antisemitic tropes, including accusing the Jews of immorality, conspiring to corrupt society, and of conspiring to destroy and dominate the world. In one instance, she tweeted a text by a notorious antisemite, Dr. Mustafa Mahmoud, accusing “the Talmud tribe and the Protocols tribe” — i.e., the Jews — of infecting Western civilization and liberalism with “obscenity and decadence, cocaine, crack, nudity, sex and violence.”
In the article shared and endorsed by Ambassador Al-Muftah, the Jews are described as “the termites of that civilization” who “eat it from the inside,” a tribe that has been “planning for a thousand years to destroy this world and dominate it.” After sharing this antisemitic conspiracy, the Qatari Ambassador added, “I advise all young people to read it! Don’t be fooled!”
In another Twitter thread, Ambassador Al-Muftah proposed a conspiracy theoryclaiming that Israel knew about and was implicated in an Al Qaeda attack in the Sinai, that Israel actually created Al Qaeda, and indeed “hangs over every terrorist threat,” and operates “hidden hands in every country” to carry out conspiracies. In her words, “the Zionists have actually succeeded in distracting the world from our main cause, which is Palestine and their criminal violations!”
In the same vein, Qatari Ambassador Al-Muftah tweeted out a headline—“BBC Correspondent says MOSSAD did 9/11”—while sharing a video of the antisemite Alan Hart, as he was interviewed by leading 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett. Hart claimed that Israel’s Mossad—”and the Zionists and the Neocons”—helped orchestrate the 9/11 attacks by using a “controlled ground explosion” to destroy the twin towers, and by guiding the planes by transponders.
“A point of view worth pondering,” added Qatar’s envoy. Ambassador Al-Muftah has also posted caricatures with classically antisemitic tropes about Jews controlling world leaders, including one image of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the Star of David on his shirt, riding and beating United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon like an animal. Though she provided no evidence to back her claim, Al-Muftah believes that whenever people discuss Palestine, “international conspiracies” escalate in an “immoral and inhuman” manner.
No Human Rights For Gays, “May God Curse Them!”
About gays, Ambassador Al-Muftah is equally clear and consistent. In October 2011, she called for “God’s curse” upon gays, and also upon those who “encouraged them.” In June 2018, she again called on God to curse gays. Admiring Russia at the 2018 World Cup for opposing gays, she exclaimed: “May God curse them!” A
lthough the United Nations has emphasized that gays have human rights, Al-Muftah calls gay rights “Disgusting rights!”
In response to a UN plea for gay rights in Africa, Ms. Al-Muftah told the UN to “stay away from Middle East and Arab countries, keep your rights for your people.” Days later, citing a news report that debate about homosexuality in Islam is beginning, she again warned: “Stay away from Islam, don’t U understand???”
Likewise, about gays, Ambassador Al-Muftah lashed out: “Damn this cultural globalization that gave them rights they don’t deserve.” She doubled down: “Absolutely NO! Defending human rights has nothing to do with gay rights!” For Ambassador Al-Muftah—the aspiring head of the UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law—Western ideas and gay rights are all to blame: “The ideas of secularism, liberalism, atheism and homosexuality have spread and are practiced under the pretext of respecting ‘human rights’ and ‘other opinion’!”
In October 2018, she made clear her views: Gay rights are “in conflict with the three monotheistic religions and morality,” and “also with the legal legislation in most countries.” She therefore opposed raising gay rights at the International Parliamentary Union. Al-Muftah even condemned former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney for celebrating his daughter’s gay marriage. She said “the West celebrates the lack of reason and religion” and “the decay of its morals.”
‘NATO was paid to kill Qaddafi’, ‘France is racist against Muslims,’ ‘USA will end’
Finally, a consistent theme for Ambassador Al-Muftah is that Western countries are malign, degenerate and racist. “NATO were paid to kill Qaddafi,” she wrote. “The end of America and others,” says Ambassador Al-Muftah, “does not need any prophecy. Our Messenger and our Qur’an told us about it 1400 years ago, and it is inevitably true.”
“Terrorism,” said Ambassador Al-Muftah, ‘is a term that the West has been unable to frame except within the limits of achieving their own agenda!” Al-Muftah claims that human rights are used as a pretext for deformation and decay of morals, “in light of the hegemony of Western culture.”
In particular among Western nations, Ambassador Al-Muftah believes that “France’s government and people are known for their racism against Muslims!” In 2020, she wrote that French President “Macron and his likes fight Islam.” Last year, after President Macron criticized Islamists in wake of the beheading in France of teacher Samuel Paty, Ambassador Al-Muftah posted a call to “Boycott French products.”
“France,” she writes: “is an arrogant dictatorship…in the guise of democracy.” It is a country of “fake freedom” which, she tweeted, is “killing the freedom of innocent Muslims in Mali,” just like, she suggested, President Obama was doing in Afghanistan.
Mr. President, in summary, dangerous antisemitic tropes, discrimination against gays, despicable lies and disinformation cannot be given sanction, and, on the contrary, must be exposed and condemned at the highest levels.
Accordingly, we urge you to summarily reject the nomination of Qatari Ambassador Hend Al-Muftah to become Chair of the United Nations Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, and we appeal to you and the Secretary-General to denounce her bigotry. We thank you for your urgent attention to this matter and look forward to your response.
Hillel C. Neuer
CC: Secretary General Antonio Guterres
Miguel Ángel Moratinos, UN Focal Point to monitor Anti-Semitism
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity