Qatar World Cup Ambassador Calls Homosexuality “A Damage In The Mind”

A Qatari ambassador for the World Cup received criticism after describing homosexuality as "damage in the mind" during an interview with a German public broadcaster.

Khalid Salman, a former player for the Qatari national soccer team and an ambassador for the World Cup, made these remarks as Qatar prepares to officially begin the global tournament in less than two weeks, where around 1.2 million people are expected to watch the event.

During the interview, filmed in Doha and set to be released on Tuesday, Salman discussed homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.

“During the World Cup, many things will come to the country. Let’s talk about gays,” Salman said in English, dubbing the interview into German.

The most important thing is, everybody will accept that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules," he added.

"(Homosexuality) is haram. You know what haram (forbidden) means?" Salman continued during the interview.

In Islamic law, if something is haram, it is considered forbidden.

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

He also went on to say that being gay causes "spiritual harm."

According to the ZDF, a press officer for the World organizing committee immediately cut the interview short. Reuters asked Qatar's World Cup organizers for a comment regarding the issue, but they declined the request.

Since Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, the conservative Muslim Gulf state's human rights situation has been questioned, with some soccer players expressing their concerns over the rights of fans who will visit the country for the event.

Two weeks ago, British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested for staging a one-person protest in front of Qatar's national museum in Doha ahead of the World Cup.

"Obviously, these comments are terrible," German interior minister Nancy Faeser said on Tuesday.

Salman's remarks also drew criticism from activist Rasha Younes of Human Rights Watch and Dr. Nas Mohamed, the first LGBT Qatari to come out publicly.

The Qatari government’s failure to counter this false information has a significant impact on the lives of Qatar’s #LGBT residents,” Younes tweeted.

Dr. Nas Mohamed also shared a story on his Instagram account showing German soccer fans responding to Salman's comments with a sign that says, "F**k you Khalid." In his interviews with Sky Sports and Openly News, he criticized FIFA and the Qatari government for Qatar's human rights records.

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