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Qatari Slams LGTBQ Ahead of Cup


A Qatar World Cup ambassador has told German television broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality was "damage in the mind", as the Gulf state prepares to host the global tournament in less than two weeks.

"They have to accept our rules here," former Qatari International Khalid Salman said, in an excerpt of the TV interview.

"Homosexuality) is haram. You know what haram (forbidden) means?," he said.

When asked why it was haram, Salman said: "I am not a strict Muslim but why is it haram? Because it is damage in the mind."

Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country.

The interview was then immediately stopped by an accompanying official. Qatar's World Cup organizers, when contacted by Reuters, declined to comment.

Some football players have raised concerns over the rights of fans travelling to the event, especially LGBT+ individuals and women, whom rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.

World soccer's ruling body FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

"Obviously these comments are terrible," Germany's interior minister Nancy Faeser, who visited Qatar a week ago, said on Tuesday.

Faeser said she had received security guarantees from the local interior minister and prime minister and that this applied to the protection of homosexual fans as well as against possible racist or anti-Semitic attacks.

"I have no new indications from him (Qatari interior minister) now that anything should have changed in this regard," Faeser told reporters.

Organizers have repeatedly said everyone was welcome in Qatar during the World Cup.

Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup but the small nation 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 Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.