Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is the current Emir of Qatar, having held power since the abdication of his father Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in 2013. Although his cult of personality ensures his popularity as a Qatari symbol of nationalism, he is more controversial in other countries due to his regime's support of Islamic terror groups, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Qatari government supplies with diplomatic and medical support. Tamim and Hamad also both funded Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood-backed government until it was overthrown in a coup by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Furthermore, Tamim is currently engaged in a proxy war in Syria using the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to overthrow president Bashar al-Assad so that he can expand Qatari influence in the post-Assad era, and has political relationships with the Taliban and Hamas. He also formed the Army of Conquest to further his proxy war. All of these groups are supported by the state controlled media, which also broadcasts their Anti-Semitic propaganda.
The Qatari government is notorious for stripping migrant workers of their passports and using them for slave labour. According to the German regional public service television channel WDR, several of its reporters were detained for several days in Qatar for collecting evidence on the conditions of migrant workers. The Guardian has reported that Nepalese migrants building the infrastructure to host the 2022 World Cup died at a rate of one every two days in 2014. Human Rights Watch's “2014 World Report” confirmed the precarious conditions of the migrant workers, who sometimes live in unsanitary conditions and are subject to arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, exploitation and abuse by employers.
Tamim runs a Sharia state, meaning that human rights abuses are common. For example, gay couples are imprisoned if they can be proven to have had sex, and news about LGBT rights is prohibited. Many women who get pregnant with an illegitimate child are jailed. Non-citizens who are forced to have sponsors are usually denied the right to leave Qatar and are therefore forced to seek refuge and counsel from their embassy. The Sharia state also means that cruel and unusual punishments such as death by stoning are practiced.
In 2014, Tamim passed new cybercrime legislation, which was said to be part of an agreement among Gulf states to criminalize online insults of the region's royal families. The cybercrime law outlaws the spreading of "false news" as well as digital material that violates the country's "social values" or "general order". The legislation made it illegal to incite, aid and facilitate the publication of offensive material. The law has been criticized by those who say that it can be used to strip people of their human rights based on the misinterpretation of online chatter. Amnesty International called the law "a major setback for freedom of expression in Qatar", while other critics suggest that the new law will violate provisions of the country's constitution that protect civil liberties.
In January 2016, Tamim shook up the cabinet put in place by his father. He named a new foreign minister, replacing Khalid al-Attiyah with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, changed the defence minister and appointed a new female minister. Tamim also merged several ministries, including communication, transport and culture, and youth and sports. Many believed that this showed that Tamim was trying to make the government his own by bringing in a new, younger generation of ministers that were more loyal to him than to his father.