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Are City’s Owners Sportswashing Abu Dhabi?

By: Ted Fred Franky, Refuting misinformation, February 4, 2024  4 months ago

Abu Dhabi is a Fuedal State which is modernising

Khaldoon Al Mubarak has been the chairman since 2008, and every year he makes a statement regarding what the club has achieved, what it intends to do and so on. He’s walked the talk and followed through on everything he has promissed. The club is far more professionally run, successful and he has steered the transformation in a way that couldn’t be bettered. Obviously it has taken a huge amount of investment, but most success stories require lots of money.

Sheik Mansour has also been pivotal in developing property in run down East Manchester, building the Connell academy school which provides first class education and facilities in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. Manchester City were one of sux clubs that founded Football in the Community in the 1980s, this is one of the most successful community initiatives in the UK, and now run by over 30 professional football clubs. On taking over,  Sheik Mansour trebled the investment in this scheme.

Man City Nero Scarf - Sky/Navy - One Size
Man City Nero Scarf - Sky/Navy - One Size

It should be easy to understand why City fans only see Sheik Mansour and Khaldoon Al Mubarak as the good guys.

Human Rights and Equality Issues

Obviously, there are huge human rights and equality issues in Abu Dhabi and the UAE in general. The UAE was created in 1970, when it gained independence from Britain. It’s a relatively young country with muslim values. The country’s wealth is based on oil which as a high demand product which won’t necessarily last for ever. The only other resources the UAE has are an abundance of sun, sea and sand. So they are diversifying into tourism, which makes perfect sense. Tourism, requires tourists, who will have a wide variety of values which conflict with traditional muslim values such as alcohol, bawdy behaviour, public displays of affection, open sexuality and so on. As a result the country has to modernise. Women can now: drive; go to university; and develop a degree of independence. On the back of this a cultural shift is taking place, and if the UK is anything to go by it won’t happen over night.

The UK started legislating for equality in the 1960s and 60 years, later it is still doing so. Unfortunately,  many in our society won’t accept these changes. Homosexuality was legalised in England and Wales in 1967, in Scotland in 1982 and In Northern Ireland in 1986. Abortion in England and Wales in 1967, in Scotland in 1982 and In Northern Ireland in 1986. Racial equality legislation had been introduced in 1968 – so in some areas we are only a small step ahead of the UAE on this journey. In others, such as employment, bonded labour (ie slavery), we are a long way ahead. Yet Labour introduced the Modern Slavery Act in 2000, so we’re not as pure or far ahead in comparison as we might first think.

Many in the UK have opposed these changes, still rejecting gender eaulity, homosexuality and racial differences and the UAE is no different.

Of course the human rights lobbiests are incandescent with rage against states like the UAE and any of their people investing abroad. In the case off Manchester City,  they’ve devised this concept of sports washing. The idea isn’t complicated to follow, but is totally undermind when you consider that the UAE is focussing on tourism as its major revenue source when oil no longer funds the state. In turn, it has to accept liberalised Western values for this to succeed. So there is a fait acomplis that all human rights issues will have to be addressed and brought up to date. Equality must have been accepted by the rulers of Abu Dhabi (and the rest of the UAE, including Dubai), when international tourism was chosen as an economic goal.

It is also incredibly hypocritical to take all the advantages oil provides and give vast amounts of money to countries like the UAE, and then tell them what they can and can’t spend it on. Without oil,  without diesel to transport food and other goods,  without plastic our lives would be dramatically different and worse.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA 2
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA 2

Middle Eastern Politics

You can’t discuss the issues in the UAE without noting some key elements of Middle Eastern and Islamic Politics.

This is a hugley complex area, and I do not undestand it fully myself. We have seen the tensions in Israel spill over, and the widespread killing of innocent people. Many of the “terrorist” organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas may have extreme violence in their DNA, but their founding principles are based on socialism and equality. They are all linked via a group called The Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood does an enormous amount of charitable delivering aid, setting up schools etc work in line with Islamic ethics. It is seen by many muslims as a force for good. However it has a stated aim of creating a Worldwide Isalmic Caliphate, ie where every country in the world becomes Islamic and abides by Sharia Law. Whilst this is a noble aim for an Islamic organisation in line with Islam, this is a direct threat to liberal Western values in fact our very existence and way of life. Make no mistake they are very well orgnaised and dangerous.

The Muslim Brotherhood has had a role to a greater or lesser extent in supporting, helping and funding all of these organisations: The Taliban; Boka Horan; Hamas; ISIS; Al Qaedi; and many other paramilitary organisation who use force and brutal oppression to create and extend Islam. Many of the less extreme organisations such as the PLO have socialist goals and communist ideals. They are as much the product of left wing politics as they are associated with Islamic fundamentalism (I don’t know of a better description). So it is very difficult to understand when the Western media groups them all as Islamic Terrorists.

Some references state that The Muslim Brotherhood was started by a Syrian/Egyptian, Hassan al-Banna. Al-Banna read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and wrote to him to offer his help and support. Subsequently he formed a branch of Hitler’s SS in Palestine, with approximately 50 members. It’s numbers grew to 10,000+ and fought alongside the Nazis in the Balkans during World War 2 as the the Waffen-SS Handschar Divisions. It was initially funded by gold the Nazis looted from Jewish Concentration Camps. After the war this organisation adopted the name The Muslim Brotherhood to separate it from their association with the Nazis.

The Muslim Brotherhood has allegedly translated Mein Kampf into Arabic and it has printed and distributed over 50 million copies throughout the Arab world.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

Then you can find other references which water down or refute any association with the Nazis. If you are interested google it yourself. It is a vast subject.

On one hand, The Muslim Brotherhood does a lot of charitable work, and on the other they are subversive and very dangerous. It would be prudent to note that therefore every single organisation associated with them ought to be viewed with suspicion, because they could easily be a front for something more sinister. This is the position the rulers of countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the UAE and many more find themselves in.

Rulers like Sadam Hussein in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syriah, The House of Saud in Saudia Arabia and many more have to face this issue. They rule with an iron fist to ensure The Muslim Brotherhood does not create forces to actively overthrow them. This is one reason why Qatar and Saudi Arabia are waging a brutal war in Yemen at the moment.

In the UAE, The Muslim Brotherhood have helped found a school. In light of their involvement, you have to be suspicious of their true motives. It is hardly surprising members of this school such as Ahmed Mansoor have been persecuted in Abu Dahbi. Ahmed Mansoor has been extremely outspoken about censorship in the UAE, but the school links him to the Muslim Bortherhood. Opening a school may be the intent of The Muslim Brotherhood, following the line Christian Expansionist Mechanisms adopted over the last thousand or so years. So it is a threat.

Christian Expansionist Mechanisms were quite simple. The Roman Catholic Church would send in a mission to spread the word of god and convert the locals to become Roman Catholics. If successful Christianity has spread, if not, generally the locals would kill the missionaries. This in turn would justify holy war. So then the Roman Catholic Church would raise an army via the Kings and Queens of Europe and take the area by force. Thus enforcing the spread of the Roman Catholic Church.

One thing is clear you cannot judge the UAE or any other Arabic country without considering the impact of the above.

Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3
Official Manchester City Scarf – PUMA3

UAE Background

Like the whole of the Middle East, this country is incomprehensible to most people in the UK  I certainly don’t understand it.

This is what I know:

The British government decided it could no longer afford to protect many states in the gulf, and gave them independence at the end of the 60s/early 70s.

The UAE is a union of 7 of these states with others ie Qatar and Yemen doing their own thing.

The driving force behind the union ended up running the UAE for the next 20 years. He had 100 sons by 30+ women, his 6 best sons now run 6 of the UAE states. Sheik Mansour may be a son, but not one of the 6. So already we are delaing with an incredibly alien set of circumstances.

In the late 70s the school* set up by the Muslim Brotherhood was introduced to develop education in Abu Dhabi along the lines of Sharia law. At the time this, was not an odd thing to do 99% of the population (excluding bonded labour) were Muslim living their lives according to the Koran and Sharia law.

* I have deliberately not named this school, as there is one with the same name in Blackburn, and I would not want to cause any issues for them by what I write.

Today this is a threat to the rulers of the UAE.

Recently, Amnesty International have focused heavily on the treatment of Ahmed Mansoor by the Abu Dhabi state. However, I am not convinced by the impartiality of them anymore. One of the directors of Amnesty International, was caught liasing privately with the government of Egypt. This is against the political independence rules of her role/position at Amnesty International.  Her husband also runs a charity in Bradford founded by The Muslim Brotherhood. There are various reports highlighting the lack of independence recently at Amnesty International:

When Sheik Mansour to over Manchester City,  I checked the websites of Amnesty International and Human Rights watch for abuses in Abu Dhabi. To my astonishment there weren’t any listed, (plenty in Dubai). Although Human Rights Watch claimed there were some reports but that as of 2008 they had no proof.

My understanding of this is quite simple, I don’t understand it. I can see that judging Abu Dhabi, or the UAE, or anywhere in the Middle East by our standards in Britain is futile. Furthermore, the number of Human Rights abuses listed on Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is higher per capita in the UK than the UAE!

You also have to accept that everything you read in the media is manipulated by vested interests, either political or financial. We know after World War 2, Klaus Barbie the (Nazi) Butcher of Lyon was not put on trial at Nurenberg. His torture skills were useful and attracted the CIA. He went to work for them after WW2, helping them in their internatonal efforts. The Israelis finally caught up with him in his retirement.

I can’t condemn what happens in the UAE or condone it. I feel a lot of the criticism is inappropriate because here in the UK we really do not understand it. The UK along with the USA has had little success in imposing our “righteousness” on places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Cambodia,  Korea, Cuba, Sierra Leone, the list is endless. In fact our governments have often made things worse!

More on Abu Dabi Human Rights

As a Manchester City supporters how do you reconcile Human Rights abuses in the UAE and Abu Dhabi with money that has had been pumped into our club?

Many would have you believe that it is blood money or it falls under the catchy moniker of Sports Washing. However, this is far too simplistic.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have a lot to say about it,  but they also have a lot to say about Human Rights Abuses in the UK. Is it not the case that you should focus on what you can change at home before you try to influence what happens abroad? We have simple facts that are in our faces daily:

  • 99% of people who die in police custody are black.
  • Sarah Everard and the Me Too Campaign which has brought about a vast eposure of police corruption
  • On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales.
  • Orgreave, Hilsborough, Grenfell and now the Post Office Sub Postmasters.
  • Brianna Ghey stabbed more than two dozen times in broad daylight

Furthermore,  should we not consider the journey we have been on in  the UK over the last 50-60 years and understand that the UAE is modernising. The UAE are starting from a far more extreme position than the UK was in after the Second World War?

Equality

Equality is an element of this.  We ought to recognise that the Race Relations Act was introduced in 1968, the Sex Discrimination Act only came into being in 1975 giving women equality. The Sexual Offences Act 1967 legalised homosexuality in England and Wales, but this was not extended to Scotland legalised until 1982 and Northern Ireland in 1986. All of the acts have been replaced, refined and extended since they were first introduced. This demonstrates that equality cannot be introduced by simply passing a new law legalising or enforcing equal rights, you need a cultural change as well. For example, the illegality of rape within marriage was finally laid out explicitly under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. To many, this should have been obvious, and part of the original Sexual Offences Act in 1967?

This has a huge bearing on attitudes throughout age groups in British Society. Anyone growing up in the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s grew up being taught homosexuality to be illegal, that non white people were inferior, a wife was to do what her husband told her and many more things. The language they were taught as normal is now often considered disgusting. It’s hardly surprising that some people in their 70s, 80s and 90s have difficulty accepting these changes. When they grew up you were a criminal if you were a homosexual, but many of us today have grown up without those laws? People who grew up in the 1960s, 1970s & 1980s were taught these new ways at school, yet faced different attitudes at home. Some adopted the new ways others adopted their parents attitudes. Those that stuck with their parents attitudes, have passed on what are now considered to be bigoted beliefs to the children they have raised in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. So society in Britain is changing, but it takes time and it is not easy.

The obvious glaring omission from the above is non-white immigrants and their children growing up here. Over successive generations some have integrated fully into society, others not at all and most somewhere in between. So there are difficulties whatever ethinicity you are in the UK.

The first group of white people referred to above, would probably have never met anyone non white whilst they were growing up. The second group (unless they were growing up in an inner city area)  would have had one or two non white children in their year at school. The latter group will have grown up with many non white children in every class. In the 1961 census ethnicity was not measured,  in the 1981 census, the non white population was 4%, in 2011 it was 20%, which reflects the point made above. However, people of all ages now occupy Britain, and these beliefs, experiences etc do not change overnight. It shouldn’t mean that any of these groups are bad people. It is simply the diversity we have.

It has taken this long for the UK to address inequality, and as a society we still have a long way to go. This is evidenced by the manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson, and the neccessity and controversy of Taking of the Knee. Is it fair therefore to judge the UAE by the standards we seem to think we uphold here?

I think on the issue of Equality, the answer is no. We still do not live in a equal society.

All we can do: is look for evidence that laws and attitudes are changing; see how far the UAE has come; offer encouragement; and acceot it will take time.

Slavery

Bonded labour under the Khaleefa system was widespread in the UAE, and a form of slavery in many peoples eyes. There will be remants of this amongst society in the UAE.

Justice

However the key element that ties all of this together is justice and the independence of those administering it. This will come in time, as tourism expands.

Summary

The UK has come a long way, and the UAE is a long way behind. It will take time for the UAE to catch up. Despite trying to modernise, there will be huge cultural issues in the UAE as well as pressures from orgnisatons to undermine their progress. External pressure will come from The Muslim Brotherhood trying to turn the UAE into an Islamic Caliphate and crticism from the West. Sportswashing is just part of the Western criticism aimed at undermining rather than supporting modernisation.

It is clear the rulers of the UAE have a very difficult path to tread. By embracing international tourism and focusing on that as their future industry, the UAE has to modernise or it will fail.