Ahead of FIFA World Cup, Qatar Official Calls Homosexuality ‘Damage in the Mind’

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Last Updated: November 08, 2022, 17:40 IST

Khalid Salman (Screenshot of interview/Twitter)

Khalid Salman (Screenshot of interview/Twitter)

FIFA World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman insisted homosexuality was “haram” — something forbidden in Islam — during the interview, which was abruptly cut off after his comments

Former Qatari international and World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman has called homosexuality a “damage in the mind” in an interview to be aired on German TV on Tuesday.

The country will accept gay visitors but “they have to accept our rules”, Salman said in the interview with the ZDF broadcaster, filmed in Qatar ahead of the tournament.

Salman also insisted homosexuality was “haram” — something forbidden in Islam — during the interview, which was abruptly cut off after his comments.

Qatar has come under sustained fire over its human rights record ahead of the World Cup, including its treatment of foreign workers and its stance on women’s and LGBTQ rights.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and captains from a number of leading European countries, including England, France and Germany, will wear armbands in rainbow colours with the message “One Love” in an anti-discrimination campaign.

Fans in stadiums across Germany on Saturday called for boycotts of the tournament.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said last week on a visit to Qatar that she will attend the World Cup after being given a “guarantee of safety” for LGBTQ fans by Qatar’s prime minister.

German lawmakers joined Faeser on the visit, but the German government’s human rights commissioner Luise Amtsberg pulled out.

Faeser had previously said Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup was “very tricky” from Berlin’s perspective, prompting Doha to summon the German ambassador.

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