In his November 23, 2022 column in the Qatari daily Al-Raya, journalist Ahmad 'Ali, formerly the editor-in-chief of the Qatari daily Al-Watan, wrote that the Quranic verse that featured in the World Cup opening ceremony, which states that God "created mankind from male and female," was a divine message to the world against homosexuality. The inclusion of this verse (Quran 49:13) in the opening ceremony, he explained, was "a message that Qatar conveyed to the entire world and to the World Cup attendees, which points to a truth that many forget," namely that there are only two genders – male and female – and no other gender besides. The attempt of Western elements to use the World Cup to promote LGBTQ rights, he added, is immoral, since "homosexuality is a disease" that destroys societies and constitutes a corruption of human nature.
'Ali's column reflects the flagrantly anti-LGBTQ discourse rampant in Qatar's state media, which increased ahead of the World Cup and which contravenes the joint commitments issued in January 2020 by Qatar and FIFA, which ban, inter alia, discrimination of any kind against any 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.
Qatari social media influencer Ghanim Al-Muftah and American actor Morgan Freeman in the World Cup opening ceremony (mubasher.aljazeera.net, November 21, 2022)
The following are translated excerpts from his column:
"Watching the World Cup opening ceremony in Qatar with bated breath, I was overcome with emotion, a mixture of pride in my homeland and pride in the gift of awareness, understanding and perception that Allah has bestowed upon us. This [feeling] set off a train of thought. That unforgettable exchange between the invincible young Qatari Ghanim Muhammad Al-Muftah and the great American actor Morgan Freeman gave me goosebumps. It was a meaningful moment, like a glowing ray of light from the heavens, when that young Qatari [Ghanim Al-Muftah], with his impressively [eloquent] Arabic, read out the 13th verse of Surat Al-Hujurat [the 49th Surah of the Quran]: ' O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.'
SUPPORT OUR WORK
"The selection of this Quranic verse for the opening ceremony is no doubt meant to convey a meaningful divine message to mankind. This is a message that Qatar conveyed to the entire world and to the World Cup attendees, which points to a truth that many forget despite the guidance and reminders that it contains. [This verse] contains a call that all of us must examine and ponder. My interpretation of this message is that it encapsulates all the humane values in which Qatar believes and with which it addresses the world at large. Here, in the Al-Bayt stadium, the Qatari Ghanim [Al-Muftah] welcomed the guests who have come to our country, addressing them all with a Quranic verse. He addressed them with the words of Allah the Almighty, "O mankind." The one who addresses us thus is our Creator, who created us "from male and female," and who teaches us that the purpose of our existence is to know each other, live together, extend a hand to one another, reconcile [and live] in peace and harmony, without discord… 'O mankind' – the spectrum of colors, kinds, cultures, orientations, tongues and faiths that exists among us does not [have to] entail arrogance or conflict. It does not have to lead to plotting, distance, hypocrisy and conflict between your Western world and our Islamic one.
"That is the attitude of the Qatari towards his fellow Arab, his European friend, his fellow Asian, his African counterpart and his American peer. It is an attitude of respect, an attitude of friendship [that reflects] our commitment to human rights and everything they entail, without doubt, denial, alteration or distortion [of this concept, but also] without [accepting] the West's attempt to impose its customs on us under the pretext of defending human rights.
"In this context, it behooves us to remember that the Almighty tells us in the Quran that we were all created 'from male and female,' which means that the most important principle in the history of human procreation is the existence of [two genders] – male and female – and no other [gender] besides, neither a third, a fourth nor a fifth [gender].
"It was with this divine principle that Qatar opened its pan-human World Cup, and which it conveyed to all of humanity, [noting] that we were all born of one father, Adam, and one mother, Eve. This truth encapsulates the duality of male and female upon which human existence is predicated. In light of this truth, I feel it is my duty to refute what [some] try to sell us under the heading of defending homosexuality, in their campaigns against the Qatari World Cup. They introduce this under all sorts of glitzy – not to say degenerate – names and descriptions, such as [defending] human rights, respecting 'other orientations,' and defending… what they call gender rights…
"FIFA was right to ban the captains of the European teams from wearing a colorful armband and to warn that anyone who did so would be issued a yellow card immediately upon entering the pitch. There is no doubt that the immorality they wished to market in the World Cup [i.e., homosexuality] is a degeneration of human nature, a decline into filth, a corruption of masculinity and an attack on femininity. Not to mention the deadly diseases it causes, the most severe of which is the dangerous disease called [acquired] immunodeficiency syndrome, known in the medical world as AIDS. There is no doubt that homosexuality is a disease. When it invades a society, it destroys it and causes its moral and social decline and collapse. That is why all monotheistic faiths, human norms and manmade laws… refuse to legitimize this perversion…"
 See MEMRI reports: Special Dispatch No. 10327 - In Qatar On The Eve Of The World Cup, Continuing Expressions Of Homophobia And Disgust Over LGBTQ+ Visitors To The Country - 11/18/22; Special Dispatch No. 10274 In Qatar On Eve Of FIFA World Cup, Condemnation Of LGBTQ Community Continues, October 21, 2022; Special Dispatch No. 10321, Ahead Of World Cup, Homophobic Cartoons In Qatari State Dailies, November 17, 2022.
 Fifa.com, January 21, 2020.
 Al-Raya (Qatar), November 23, 2022.
 Ghanim Al-Muftah is a young Qatari social media influencer, philanthropist and entrepreneur with caudal regression syndrome.