An ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar has described homosexuality as “damage in the mind”. The comments come just two weeks before the tournament gets underway.
The comments were made by former Qatari international Khalid Salman in an interview filmed in Doha for the German television broadcaster, ZDF.
“They have to accept our rules here,” he said of LGBTQ+ fans traveling to see the World Cup. “[Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram means?”
When asked why it was “haram” [forbidden], Salman said, “I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”
Gay Times reports ZDF immediately terminated the interview with Germany’s interior minister, Nancy Faeser, calling the remarks “terrible.”
The World Cup has been marred with controversy since it was announced that it would take place in Qatar. Homosexuality is illegal in the country and LGBTQ+ people are routinely subjected to discrimination and harassment.
Salman’s comments come not long after the Human Rights Watch reported cases of LGBTQ+ people being detained and subjected to “ill-treatment in detention” in Qatar as recently as last month.
There were at least six cases of “severe and repeated beatings” reported, and five incidences of “sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022.”
The Football Association assured fans that they will not face arrest for kissing or holding hands in public at the World Cup, beginning later in November.
Read related myGwork articles here: