Former Qatari international Khalid Salman, ambassador for the World Cup in Qatar (November 20-December 18), told German television channel ZDF that he believes homosexuality is “mental deviance” as the Gulf State prepares to host the global tournament in less than two weeks.
“They have to accept our rules here”
In an interview filmed in Doha and which will air later on Tuesday, he addressed the issue of homosexuality, which is illegal in the conservative Muslim country. Some players have also raised concerns about the rights of supporters traveling to the event, especially LGBT+ people and women. The country expects more than a million visitors for the World Cup.
“They have to accept our rules here”Salman said. “(Homosexuality) is haram. Do you know what haram (forbidden) means? I’m not a strict muslim but why is it haram? ‘Cause it’s mental deviance. »
The interview was then immediately interrupted by an official who was accompanying him. World Cup organizers in Qatar, contacted by Reuters, declined to comment. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The organizers have repeatedly said that everyone was welcome in Qatar during the World Cup.
Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup, but it has come under intense pressure in recent years for its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws. The country’s human rights record has led to calls for teams and officials to boycott the competition.