The Qatar World Cup ambassador has described homosexuality as ” mental damage” . The ambassador and former football player Khalid Salman made this statement in a German documentary about the upcoming World Cup, which can be seen tonight on the German channel ZDF.
Salman makes many more LGBTQIA+ and misogynistic statements in the documentary. For example, LGBTQIA+ people would be allowed to come to the World Cup in ‘his’ country, but only if they “accept the Qatari rules” . These rules state, among other things, that you cannot openly show that you like the same sex, or walk hand in hand with your partner. When people don’t follow the rules. In his eyes being gay is ‘haram’ and forbidden. “It’s mental damage ,” he says. The interview is then quickly ended by the spokesperson for the organizing committee.
German journalist Jochen Breyer also asks Salman about his views on women’s rights and freedom of expression. Women don’t do well with Salman either. One of the other Qatari organizers says that, according to him, women have no business on the streets. ” It would be better for a woman to stay in the house, with all her father’s wealth. Why should a woman, with all the money and love, leave the house? She doesn’t have much reason to do that.”
Breyer also asks about the prohibition for women to walk on the street unveiled. A Qatari guest who was with Salman at the time of the interview compared women to candy. “Suppose there is unwrapped candy in front of you. You don’t know if someone has touched it or bitten it. Then you choose the wrapped candy, right?”
Homosexuality is punishable in Qatar, as is extramarital sex. Reports about sexual orientation and gender identity are censored in the media, according to Human Rights Watch, which recently issued a press release about abuse of LGBT people in Qatar. Since the announcement of Qatar as the host country of the World Cup, many football fans and players have been hesitant about the extent to which they are welcome in the country. The head of the tournament’s organizing committee said in an interview with CNN last year that “everyone is welcome as long as they follow the rules and respect the culture”. What that means exactly has not been explained.
Human Rights Watch wants Qatar to repeal homosexuality and extramarital sex laws, guarantee freedom of expression for all residents and protect them from discrimination. “And not just for spectators who go to Qatar for the World Cup.”
WORLD CUP IN QATAR
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is very controversial. First, an investigation by the American FBI showed that Qatar was awarded the 2010 World Cup through bribery. In addition, in recent years the preparations for the tournament, such as building stadiums and other facilities, have violated human rights and at least 6,500 migrant workers have lost their lives. They were mainly from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and had to work in unsafe working conditions and extreme heat, Amnesty International said in a report . The government in Qatar has hardly ever conducted proper investigations into the deaths and FIFA is said to have looked away, according to the human rights organization.
According to human rights groups, Qatar is guilty of sportswashing: using a major tournament to put a country in a good light, while concealing misconduct and human rights violations. In addition to the death of the migrant workers, the ban on homosexuality is also something that many believe makes Qatar an unsuitable host country. For example, a few weeks before the World Cup, Human Rights Watch released a report showing that LGBT people have been arbitrarily arrested and mistreated in the country for the past three years without charge.
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