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Qatar Sports Minister Wants to Regulate Homosexuality 'Like Alcohol' for 2022 World Cup

FIFA's decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup has been an ongoing point of contention for those concerned with the country's record on a variety of human rights (workers' rights, LGBT rights, etc.). Homosexuality remains illegal in the Middle Eastern country and Muslims can be put to death for extramarital sex under Sharia law. 

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Qatar's sports minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali attempted to address some of the criticisms aimed at his country. In addition to promising labor reforms in the coming months, al-Ali pledged to find "creative" solutions to things like alcohol consumption and homosexuality during the upcoming games.  

Al-AliFor now, alcohol is only sold in selected Doha hotels and visitors must show their passports to enter these bars. Residents with a license to shop there can also buy alcohol in a government-run store. But World Cup organizer FIFA has a sponsorship deal with a brewer and it leaned on Brazil, the last tournament host, to allow beer sales in its 2014 World Cup stadiums. Asked specifically about alcohol in 2022 stadiums, the minister offered no guarantee.

"In the hotels and many areas we have alcohol but we have also our own system that people need to respect," he said. "As we bid for 2022, we will respect all the rules and regulations by FIFA. We can study this and minimize the impact on our people and tradition. I think we can be creative, finding solutions for all of this. But we respect all the rules and regulations."

- Asked how gay people will be welcomed in 2022, al-Ali replied: "It's exactly like the alcohol question."

He said Qatar doesn't want to create "this impression, illusion that we don't care about our tradition and our ethical values ... We are studying all these issues. We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here. I think there is a lot we can do."

Back in 2010, FIFA President Sepp Blatter sparked a firestorm when he joked gay people should "refrain from sexual activity" during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Previously, "John Oliver Slams Qatar's Selection as World Cup Host by 'Comically Grotesque' FIFA: VIDEO" [tlrd]


Mexico Coach Defends Use of Anti-Gay Slur by World Cup Fans

Mexico-world-cup-fans

Football Against Racism Europe has contacted the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) after fans allegedly chanted the abusive term “puto”, the Spanish word for a male prostitute, "fag" or "coward", and a derogatory term for gay men, during Mexico’s win over Cameroon on June 13.

Mexican soccer coach Miguel Herrera has said that the slur, chanted by fans during opposition goal kicks, is “not that bad.” Speaking to The Christian Science Monitor, Mexican soccer fan Javier Ángeles argued that “puto” is used to point out cowardice and not to imply sexual preference.

However, according to Alejandro Brito Lemus, the director of the Mexican magazine Letra S, which covers LGBTQI issues, the use of the term by fans is “completely homophobic.”

Mexico is now under an investigation by FIFA. In a statement, the international governing body for soccer said:

“We encourage individuals and groups such as FARE to submit any evidence in their possession with regard to discriminatory behavior for the analysis and consideration of the FIFA disciplinary committee.”

FIFA is also looking into allegations of homophobic slurs by Brazilian fans, as well the use of anti-Semitic banners by Croatian and Russian fans.

Although FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have pledged to use the World Cup as a platform against racism and discrimination, it has been argued that FIFA’s actions are hypocritical as it has awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar, despite human rights abuses in those countries and Russia’s 2013 decision to pass anti-gay laws.

Watch Oliver Slam Qatar's selection as World Cup host, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mexico Coach Defends Use of Anti-Gay Slur by World Cup Fans" »


John Oliver Slams Qatar’s Selection as World Cup Host By ‘Comically Grotesque' FIFA: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 4.01.17 PM

On Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took aim at the FIFA bribery scandal and applied his “sausage principle”– the theory that says if you love something, never find out how it was made - to his beloved World Cup.

Oliver went on to criticize FIFA’s decision to choose Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, stating that there are “between one and fifty reasons why that is a horrible idea” Among those reasons listed are the country’s scorching temperatures and its slave state working conditions, with presumably one of the other 48 reasons being that homosexuality remains illegal in the country.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP… 

Continue reading "John Oliver Slams Qatar’s Selection as World Cup Host By ‘Comically Grotesque' FIFA: VIDEO" »


Call For World Cup Boycott In Response To Qatar's 'Gay Test'

Qatar Stadium

Last month we told you about how the new FIFA anti-discrimination task force is already on the job to hold Russia and Qatar accountable for their anti-gay laws given that both nations will be hosting the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively. The task force is going to have their work cut out for them now that Qatar, along with several other Persian Gulf countries, has put in place a medical "gay test" to screen out homosexual visitors to their country.

In the wake of such absurdity, LGBT activist Peter Tatchell is calling for an out-and-out boycott of the country, insisting that the World Cup in Qatar be canceled.

"This contradicts previous assurances given to FIFA by the Qatar government that everyone will be welcome and that there will be no discrimination," [Tatchell] said.

"FIFA now has no option but to cancel the world cup in Qatar. Allowing it to go head in these circumstances would involve FIFA colluding with homophobic discrimination."

A FIFA spokesperson said that they are "not aware about the specific matter" of the proposed legislation, but "FIFA's zero tolerance policy towards any acts of racism and discrimination affecting the freedom of private persons - including their sexual and political freedom - applies to the FIFA World Cup and to all other FIFA events and activities."


FIFA's Anti-Discrimination Taskforce Seeks to Pressure Russia and Qatar Over Anti-gay Laws

As businesses, organizations, and high profile individuals continue to voice their opposition to LGBT human rights abuses in Russia, it seems increasingly clear that 'anti-gay' is becoming an undesirable label for countries to hold, at least from an economic and public relations perspective.

The Guardian reports that with the World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively, FIFA's new anti-discrimination taskforce is joining in the fight to ensure those nations are held accountable for their anti-gay laws:

Piara PowarPiara Powar (pictured), the director of Football Against Racism in Europe and a member of the taskforce along with the former FA chairman David Bernstein, said it would raise the issue at a meeting this week.

"Qatar is one of the few countries where homosexuality is still illegal and there are also big challenges in terms of the new law in Russia in regard to the World Cup," he said.

"Qatar wants to host the tournament at the start of a new decade, they will want to present an internationally welcoming face and with FIFA's help we are sure it will be possible to win over the Qataris so that they come into line with the rest of the world, including other countries in the Gulf and Middle East and change the law on homosexuality.

"These are issues of civil rights, fans and players of all races, religions and sexuality need to feel comfortable going to the World Cups in both Russia and Qatar. It is going to be quite a challenge but we have to make sure that football becomes the vehicle for social change that we claim it is. This is a big issue."

While the taskforce is eager to begin work combating anti-gay discrimination, FIFA's leadership seems less enthusiastic. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who refused to comment on the issue at the ongoing International Olympic Committee session in Buenos Aires, sparked a firestorm in 2011 when he joked that gay people should "refrain from sexual activity" during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

[photo credit: Matthew Ashton/EMPICS]


If Qatar Ever Has a Gay Pride, the Fireworks Might Look Like This: VIDEO

Fireworks

But they don't have a Gay Pride. They do, however, have rainbow daytime fireworks, courtesy of New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang and his microchip-controlled explosives.

Check out this daytime display from the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha and orchestrated by the fireworks-famous Grucci family, AFTER THE JUMP...

It's the largest daytime fireworks display in history.

Continue reading "If Qatar Ever Has a Gay Pride, the Fireworks Might Look Like This: VIDEO" »


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