Qatar will not change its religion because of 28 days FIFA World Cup, lifting Rainbow flags might attract attacks

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Qatar is not hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup to change its age-long religion, laws, and every aspect of its way of life. Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, the head of security for the FIFA World Cup said the tournament which would last for just 28 days is not enough to force the conservative gulf country to change its religion.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held at 8 venues in five cities in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022. Thirty-two countries (including the host) are expected to participate in the tournament.

Since the world football governing body, FIFA, gave Qatar the right to host the tournament, human rights activists have been agitating against the decision due to the country’s stands against the LGBT+ community and allegations of human rights violations.

Unlike the western world, Qatar is against the practice of same-sex marriage, gays, and lesbianism. The country’s laws frown heavily against such practices which means that foreigners are not allowed to flaunt such practices in the Muslim-dominated country.

When it was obvious that FIFA would not strip the country of the hosting rights, human rights movements across the world began to advocate that FIFA should allow the use of the rainbow flag in and around stadiums.

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Note that the rainbow flag is symbolic of the LGBT+ community and it is used to campaign against discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals, and Transgenders.

Though FIFA seems willing to allow the use of the rainbow flag in and around stadiums, the host country is not ready to permit that during the tournament.

In an interview with Associated Press, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari stressed that if he ceased a rainbow flag from a fan, he did that to protect the fan because the fan might be attacked for holding a rainbow flag.

“You want to demonstrate your view about the (LGBTQ) situation, demonstrate it in a society where it will be accepted… We cannot change the laws of our religion for a 28-day tournament,” Al Ansari told the AP.

“We realize that this man got the ticket, comes here to watch the game, not to demonstrate, a political (act) or something which is in his mind…

“If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it’s not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him.

“Because if it’s not me, somebody else around him might attack (him) … I cannot guarantee the behavior of the whole people. And I will tell him: ‘Please, no need to really raise that flag at this point.”

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The LGBT+ are welcomed to Qatar but they are not allowed to flaunt who they are

Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, the head of security for the FIFA World Cup has made it known that the LGBT+ community is welcomed to Qatar but the community is not allowed to flaunt its lifestyle.

Though same-sex affair is a crime in Qatar, the major general noted that gays and lesbians can come to the country for the World Cup but should respect the country’s tradition by keeping their personal lives private because the country cannot change its religion over a 28-day tournament.

“Reserve the room together, sleep together — this is something that’s not in our concern,” he said. “We are here to manage the tournament. Let’s not go beyond, the individual personal things which might be happening between these people … this is actually the concept…

“Here we cannot change the laws. You cannot change your religion for 28 days of the World Cup…

“Watch the game. That’s good. But don’t really come in and insult the whole society because of this (LGBTQ activism).”

LGBT+ community reacts

After the major general insisted that the rainbow flag would be taken away from anyone who lifted it during the forthcoming FIFA World Cup, Julia Ehrt of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and Ronain Evain of Football Supporters Europe issued a joint statement to condemn the comments of the general.

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In the joint statement, the groups stressed that the “so-called ‘protections’ are in fact smokescreens to cover up human rights violations” in Qatar.

They insisted that the world football governing body and the host country should address the possibility of people being attacked for raising a rainbow flag and other human rights violations in the Arab country.

“FIFA and Qatar must address these concerns immediately, and show the world there is a chance of carrying out a rights-respecting and safe tournament for LGBTIQ fans”, the statement added.

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