Qatar World Cup ambassador slammed for saying gay people have ‘damaged minds’
One of the main ambassadors for the controversial Qatar World Cup has claimed that homosexuality is “damage in the mind”.
The tournament, which starts next weekend, has faced calls for it to be moved from the country since it was announced as host in 2010 with the football world looking forward to a first ever winter World Cup.
Due to its stance on the LGBTQ+ community being illegal, and migrant workers rights, many have questioned taking the football festival to the country.
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And now one of the leading ambassadors has been slammed for homophobic comments just days away from the opening game.
In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, former Qatari international Khalid Slamn said: “During the World Cup many things will come here to the country.
"Let's talk about gays. They have to accept our rules here.
“'Homosexuality is haram – you know what haram (forbidden) means?
“I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind.”
The interview was cut short by a World Cup organising committee press officer.
FIFA has not responded to the comments, but politicians and world leaders have slammed the remarks.
In the UK, Labour's Shadow Women & Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds tweeted her condemnation.
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She wrote: “Appalling comments that will horrify gay and lesbian football fans everywhere.
“The UK Government must use the World Cup to challenge these bigoted attitudes, not show respect for them.
“LGBT+ people should be free to love and live without discrimination.”
The comments come less than 24 hours after it was announced that gay football fans are set to be offered 'safe houses.
The Football Association of Wales warned it "can’t guarantee" the safety of LGBTQ+ and female supporters travelling to the hardline Gulf state.
Officials are considering setting up a "safe house" zone where fans can be themselves without fear of arrest in a country where homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in jail and women's rights are restricted.
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