On the eve of the beginning of the World Cup in Qatar, set for November 20, 2022, and despite the ongoing intense international criticism of Qatar for its negative view of the LGBTQ+ community, expressions of homophobia are continuing in the country in which homosexuality is outlawed. These views are expressed by official sources as well as in the press and among Qataris on social media. For example, a former Qatari national football team member, who currently serves as an ambassador for the World Cup recently called homosexuality "damage in the mind," for which he was praised by Qataris on social media. Also in advance of the event, the Qatari parliament called for maintaining the country's societal and moral values and for opposing foreign ideas – hinting at the influx of LGBTQ+ visitors to the country. A wave of furious reactions and calls for keeping LGBTQ+ people out of the country if they do not respect Qatar's conservative society and culture was sparked by a Fashion Trust Arabia event held in the capital Doha that featured prominent LGBTQ+ fashion industry members; also enraging Qataris was British LGBTQ+ activist Peter Tatchell's protest in Doha. Additionally, Qatari journalists welcomed an announcement of a boycott of the World Cup by a group of LGBTQ+ fans.
It is notable that all the anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and expressions are is in stark contradiction with to the Qatar-FIFA joint commitments published in January 2020, which ban, inter alia, discrimination of any kind against an individual or group of people on the basis of race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, disability, language, religion, etc., in the framework of the World Cup.
Various Qatari officials, headed by Emir Hamad Al-Thani, strictly emphasize that Qatar will welcome all those arriving for the World Cup, but that they are expected to respect Qatar's culture and conservative values.
This report will present the most recent expressions of homophobia in Qatar in advance of the World Cup.
Qatari Ambassador For The World Cup: Homosexuality Is "Damage In The Mind"
Former Qatari national team player Khalid Salman, who is an ambassador for the World Cup, said on November 8 in an interview with the German public broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality is forbidden and is "damage in the mind." He said that "gays" who "come here to the country" will "have to accept our rules."
Salman's statements, which were condemned by the German government, received support from Qataris online. For example, Hamad Lahdan Al-Mohannadi, an engineer and former deputy chair of Qatar's Central Municipal Council who is very active online, tweeted: "Khalid Salman, you are a star and the European media attack on you is expected. They seek out any declaration by us in order to respond to it and inflate it so as to damage Qatar's hosting of the World Cup. Ignore their statements, star of our national team."
Hamad Lahdan Al-Mohannadi's tweet.
Qatari Parliament: Maintain Qatar's Societal And Moral Values, Oppose Foreign Ideas
On several recent occasions, the Qatari parliament has made it clear that the country will maintain its values during the World Cup, hinting at the LGBTQ+ community. The concluding announcement of its October 31, 2022 session stated: "Members of Parliament stressed the importance of maintaining society's values in a way that will ensure the building of a strong society that adheres to its religion and faith [and] takes pride in its values and morality, by monitoring ideas foreign to this society and setting appropriate ways to deal with them and oppose them on all levels. They expressed opposition to all ways of conduct foreign to society."
The World Cup as a Trojan horse bearing "cultures opposed to [Qatari] societal values" (Source: Al-Watan, Qatar, October 29, 2022.
Similar statements were made at the November 7 parliamentary session, in which representatives of the Qatari committee organizing the World Cup participated. MP Nasser bin Hassan Al-Kubaisi Tweeted that during the session he had spoken about "the need to keep all activity that is not appropriate for our customs and morality away" from Qatar, clarifying that "society's values must be maintained." It should be noted that Al-Kubaisi recently condemned the LGBTQ+ community in another statement, expressing opposition to the raising of Pride flags in Qatar and calling them "flags of moral deterioration."
"We are hosting the World Cup – and we are protecting our roots" (Source: Al-Watan, Qatar, November 6, 2022)
Qataris Rage At LGBTQ+ Participation In Qatari Fashion Event: "Bizarre Creatures," "Abnormal," "Satan's Tools Of Destruction"
On October 26, Fashion Trust Arabia a foundation headed by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the mother of the Qatari emir and her daughter and emir's sister Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Aal-Thani staged an event promoting young Arab designers at the Qatar National Museum in Doha, led, along with, Among the participants were LGBTQ+ members of the fashion industry.
A video of the event showing LGBTQ+ people participating enraged some Qataris, who tweeted that these people have no place in their country. For example, on October 28, the "Binmana" Twitter account shared a video featuring these participants and wrote: "I swear to you, in the name of Allah – what is the point of hosting these bizarre creatures?? This is an excess of unwanted openness that leads to the spread of immorality that is contrary to the customs and traditions to which [our] society is accustomed and which express our identity."
Still photos of LGBTQ+ participants in the Fashion Trust Arabia event, tweeted by Binmana.
Additionally, Qatari MP Nasser bin Hassan Dandoun Al-Kubaisi tweeted about the fashion event: "The organizers of this festival and these parties should [carefully] examine the people being hosted, and their records on everything necessary. The constitution states that everyone living in or staying in Qatar must obey the accepted rules of conduct, and must be mindful of the accepted traditions and norms. Do not invite anyone who does not respect our values."
Hamad Lahdan Al-Mohannadi, the engineer and former deputy chair of Qatar's Central Municipal Council who is very active online, tweeted: "There is no reason, or need, to invite morally abnormal people. We are a country with whose people Allah has shown great mercy, and this obligates us to thank and praise [Him]. Our land and our homeland are too pure for such people to visit. Our society opposes inviting them."
Tweeting in a similar vein was Qatari journalist Ebtesam Aal Sa'd. She wrote: "I don't know why they came, how they came, and who invited them, but I know that my society is a devoutly Muslim society and that it has honest people who oppose such offensive sights polluting Qatar's good name. They [Qataris opposed to the LGBTQ+ visitors] fear that the image of society that they painted for their children will change before their eyes, and that they [their children] will be [adversely] influenced by these sights, morally and religiously."
There was also criticism among the Qatari organizers of the World Cup on the matter of LGBTQ+ attendance. Marketing liaison director Hassan bin Rabi'a Al-Kawari tweeted: "These are not artists or cultural creators – they are Satan's tools of destruction. Their aim, and the aim of their agenda, is clear. Allah, protect our land and the other Muslim lands [from them]."
Qatari Journalist: Who Let These Devil Worshippers And Homosexuals Into Qatar?
Similarly, Qatari journalist Aisha Obaidan, in her October 30 column in the Al-Sharq daily under the headline "The World Cup Fans and the Culture of [Qatari] Society," expressed her disgust at the LGBTQ+ people visiting Qatar. At the same time, she called for restrained responses to this, so as not to serve elements that are trying to sabotage Qatar's hosting of the World Cup. She wrote:
"...Today, Qatar's commerce, entertainment, and tourism sites are buzzing with people from countries with different cultures, arts, beliefs, religions, and traditional dress. They fill the markets, streets, and shopping malls. Some look weird, with frightening, distorted faces and repulsive conduct and movements suited to their own environments, religious culture, and faith – to which our conservative society is unaccustomed. They do not respect the values, religion, and culture of Muslim society, and therefore social media is raging with condemnation and musings about their frightening appearance, as is only natural in a Muslim society with its own conservative religious and moral framework. Who allowed these repulsive-looking people – such as the devil worshippers and homosexuals – into Qatar, to move around undisturbed among the people who gather in public places[?] There are children, young people, and foreign nationals there, who are impressionable.
"Is there no obligation to consider sensitivities, views, and religion? Is it reasonable to let them [do as they wish] until the World Cup is over, without warning them gently that they must be considerate of the [local] culture, society, and religious values, [and that if they are not,] to force them to be, or to expel them...
"Eyes are following [what is happening here]; there are media institutions that are paying them [to] set traps [for us]. There are hostile countries that are paying to denigrate [us], and there are campaigns promoting a boycott [of the World Cup] and inciting [against us]. All these are waiting for a breach to slip through and to actualize, with words and deeds, their plans to come out against the success of the World Cup... We must close this breach, with our customs, culture, morality, and values, before it widens and before inciters, both domestic and foreign, enter through it in order to blacken the image of Muslim society and also to influence the World Cup. May Allah protect Qatar."
Qatar University Lecturer: The Western Attack On Qatar Is Aimed At Normalizing "Abominable Acts In Muslim Societies"
On October 25, British LGBTQ+ rights activist Peter Tatchell staged a protest in front of Qatar's National Museum in Doha, wearing a tee shirt reading "QatarAntiGay" and holding a sign protesting Qatar's treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. His protest sparked negative reactions on social media and in the Qatari press.
For example, on October 25, Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti, a lecturer at Qatar University and a member of the Qatar-supported International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), tweeted a photo of Tatchell and a screenshot of an article in Arabic about a Human Rights Watch report critical of Qatar's treatment of gays. He added: "This is a loathsome, expanding attack by the people of abomination against Qatar before the FIFA World Cup. The people [involved] are employing blackmail and provocation, with the support of Western governments and influential Western lobbies. The purpose of the attack is to establish precedents towards normalizing pride in abominable acts in Muslim societies, and to sabotage the first World Cup to be held in an Arab country."
Cartoon of Tatchell's protest in Al-Sharq, Qatar, October 30, 2022
Qatari Journalists: LGBTQ+ Fans' Boycott Of World Cup Brings Joy To Our Hearts
In addition, an announcement by UK LGBTQ+ soccer fans stating that they are boycotting the World Cup in Qatar due to the country's treatment of their community was welcomed by Qatari journalists. In a tweet, journalist Fawaz Al-Ajmi shared a report about the boycott announcement and wrote: " They [the unbelievers] plan [plot], and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners (Quran 8:30)." This news is among the most beautiful achievements of the World Cup, and also one of the purest. The land of Qatar, its stadiums, the spirit of its people, its culture, and its Arab and Islamic values and morality will not be polluted by these homosexuals. I hope [this report] is true and that we will be rid of them. Out [of Qatar] and [as] far away [as possible], inshallah."
Fawaz Al-Ajmi's tweet
In a similar vein, Qatari journalist Ahmad Al-Mohannadi, a former candidate for the Qatari parliament, wrote in his column in the Al-Sharq daily: "... The reported boycott of the World Cup by LGBTQ+ people brought joy to my heart. I said: 'Praise the Lord, by all means – do not come, [for] you will not be welcomed. I hope you stick to [this] stance, even though I know feminine men are unstable in their opinions."
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10274 In Qatar On Eve Of FIFA World Cup, Condemnation Of LGBTQ Community Continues, October 21, 2022 and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10321, Ahead Of World Cup, Homophobic Cartoons In Qatari State Dailies, November 17, 2022.
 FIFA.com, January 21, 2020.
 Euronews.com, November 9, 2022.
 It should be noted that apparently, following German criticism of his statements (Euronews.com, November 9, 2022), Salman clarified on Twitter that his words had been taken out of context, and emphasized that "everyone will be welcome in Qatar, but our religion and culture will not be altered for the World Cup." Twitter.com/kh1q, November 9, 2022.
 Twitter.com/hamadlahdan, November 8, 2022.
 Qna.org.qa, October 31, 2022.
 Twitter.com/_NasserHassan, November 7, 2022.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10274 In Qatar On Eve Of FIFA World Cup, Condemnation Of LGBTQ Community Continues, October 21, 2022.
 Fashiontrustarabia.com, October 27, 2022.
 Twitter.com/binmana, October 28, 2022.
 Twitter.com/_NasserHassan, October 28, 2022.
 Twitter.com/hamadlahdan, October 28, 2022.
 Twitter.com/Ebtesam777, October 29, 2022
 Twitter.com/AlHalkawari, October 28, 2022.
 Al-Sharq (Qatar), October 30, 2022.
 Twitter.com/PeterTatchell, October 25, 2022; Al-Arab (London), October 26, 2022.
 Twitter.com/mshinqiti, October 25, 2022.
 Independent.co.uk, October 29, 2022.
 Twitter.com/fawazsalajmi, October 29, 2022.
 Al-Sharq (Qatar), November 7, 2022.