Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Qatar World Cup ambassador criticised for harmful homosexuality comments

Qatar World Cup ambassador criticised for harmful homosexuality comments


Qatar World Cup ambassador criticised for harmful homosexuality comments

Remarks by a Qatar World Cup ambassador have been called "harmful and unacceptable" after he described homosexuality as "damage in the mind".

Khalid Salman, a former Qatar international footballer, made the comments in an interview with the German broadcaster ZDF.

Asked about the fact that homosexuality is illegal in his country, Salman said: "They have to accept our rules here. [Homosexuality] is haram. You know what haram means?"

When asked why it was haram, or forbidden, Khalid Salman said: "I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind."

Salman was speaking in his capacity as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup, a role he shares with a number of football legends including Cafu and Xavi Hernández. Organisers described the role of ambassador as "harnessing the power of football to create positive social change in Qatar, across the region and around the globe".

Rasha Younes of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch said: "Salman's suggestion that same-sex attraction is 'damage in the mind' is harmful and unacceptable. The failure of the Qatari government to counter this false information has a significant impact on the lives of LGBT residents of Qatar, ranging from fuelling discrimination and violence against them to justifying subjecting them to state-sponsored conversion practices."

Last month HRW published a report documenting what it claimed was "arbitrary" police action against LGBTQ+ residents in Qatar, including six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022. A Qatari official said HRW's allegations "contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false", without specifying.

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