Qatar’s World Cup ambassador and former soccer player Khaled Salman said in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF on Monday that homosexuality is “damaging to the mind.”
The interview, which was filmed less than two weeks before the start of the tournament in Doha, was immediately cut short by a World Cup organizing committee official.
During the interview, Salman discussed the illegality of homosexuality in Qatar.
Salman told ZDF that being gay is “haram”, which means it is forbidden under Islamic law. “The damage is in the mind,” Salman said.
As large numbers of people are expected to travel to Qatar for the World Cup, “let’s talk about gays,” Salman said.
“The most important thing is that everyone accepts that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules,” he said, adding that he was worried that children could “not be a good thing.” to learn
Salman was a Qatari football player in the 1980s and 1990s.
He participated in the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and was chosen as the ambassador of the host country of this competition.
Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup from November 20 to December 18.
His comments drew sharp criticism from human rights activist Rasha Younes, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, who called Salman’s comments “harmful and unacceptable.”
“The Qatari government’s failure to counter this misinformation is having a serious impact on the lives of #LGBT residents of Qatar,” he said on Twitter.
This is at a time when the award of this football tournament to Qatar has been severely criticized due to the human rights situation in this Persian Gulf country and the treatment of foreign workers.
Earlier this month, soccer’s world governing body FIFA called on nations participating in the 2022 World Cup to focus on soccer when the tournament kicks off.
FIFA confirmed to CNN that the letter, signed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the body’s secretary general, Fatma Samoura, was sent to the 32 countries participating in the world showpiece on Thursday, but did not disclose the contents.
“If Gianni Infantino wants the world to ‘focus on football’, there is a simple solution: FIFA can finally begin to tackle serious human rights issues, rather than sweep them under the rug,” said Steve Cockburn, head of economics and Amnesty International. International. Social justice.
“The first step is to publicly establish a fund to compensate migrant workers before the race begins and to ensure that LGBT people are not discriminated against or harassed. It’s surprising that they haven’t done this yet.
Gianni Infantino rightly says that “football does not exist in a vacuum”. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been abused to make this race possible and their rights cannot be forgotten or taken away.
“They deserve justice and compensation, not empty words and time running out.”