Rabat – While the final few days countdown has begun until FIFA’s assessment of host candidates’ readiness is published, the Trump administration is still silent on concerns over access to powerful firearms, which has exposed America to violent attacks.
In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a report on crime statistics, estimated that the murder rate rose 8.6 percent across the country in 2016. The report shows that murders committed with weapons rose to 73 percent in 2016, compared to 70 percent a year earlier.
Easy access to guns is making the US face challenging issues and contributing to mass shootings that claim the lives of many people across the country.
According to Mass Shooting Tracker, which defines mass shootings as an incident in which four or more people are shot (regardless of fatality count), 2,030 mass shootings have occurred in the US since 2013, while 89 mass shooting incidents have occurred in the US in 2018 alone.
Trump’s gun control policy is sparking controversy across the world; international press are concerned about how a country with low safety host the World Cup.
More guns than people in US
The Washington Post estimated in 2015 that there would have been 357 million firearms in the US in 2013, “40 million more guns than people.” The news source added that the estimation does not include “firearms that enter and exit the country illegally” or “guns that break down, or are lost or destroyed.”
Most recently, on May 18, a 17-year old student killed ten students inside Santa Fe High School, in southeast Texas. The suspect also injured at least 10 others.
On April 22, four young adults were killed at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to that, on February 15, a shooting in Parkland, Florida, claimed 17 lives and injured many others. The shooting was the deadliest US school shooting since 2012.
In October 2017, a lone gunman fired at the audience of an open-air country music concert in Las Vegas, killing more than 50 people and injuring more than 400 others.
Muslims, second-class citizens in US
Trump’s anti-Muslim sentiments could also jeopardize the United 2026 bid.
Islamophobic fear has been a part of US President Trump’s stance on immigrants and refugees since the early days of his campaign. The tension against Trump’s policies mounted in January 2017, when the president introduced a travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.
The ban has shifted to cover Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, with additional travel restrictions placed on North Korea and Venezuela.
In a press conference held in March, US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro emphasized that FIFA has not expressed concerns over Trump’s travel ban and public xenophobic sentiments.
“This is not geopolitics. We are talking about football,” said the chief of the US federation.
Renowned officials, however, do not appear to agree with Cordeiro’s statement. On May 15, Pascal Boniface, the director of the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), heavily criticized President Trump and his country’s immigration laws.
“Can we welcome the whole world when we spit in the face of the whole world,” said Boniface in reference to Trump’s ban on immigration from some Muslim-majority countries and his determination to build a wall between Mexico and the US.
Morocco World News last month contacted FIFA, asking whether the US would address issues related to Trump’s travel ban on Muslim countries and changing immigration laws. FIFA, however, chose not to answer, saying that “since the bidding process of the 2026 FIFA World Cup is currently ongoing we cannot comment on specific content matters of the bids.”
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)’s Hate Crime Statistics for 2016. Regarding hate crimes motivated by religion, Muslims and Jews were “the two most common targets… with nearly 54 percent and more than 24 percent respectively, of religiously motivated hate crimes committed against them,” according to Vox.com.
The US intelligence services used several ways to monitor Muslims’ practices and activities, including mapping Muslim communities and employing video/image surveillance.
Muslims in the US have been surveilled since at least 2002, when New York authorities singled out Muslim mosques, student organizations, and businesses for surveillance that is described as “discriminatory,” by many human rights organizations.
FIFA’s task force will publish its assessments on May 29, to announce whether Morocco and the North American bid are eligible to host the 23rd World Cup bid in 2026. The assessments will be published prior to the vote scheduled for June 13, when 211 football federations will vote for their favorite bid.