Qatar journalist says LGBTQ+ people are ‘abnormal’ ahead of World Cup

Qatar journalist describes LGBTQ+ people boycotting World Cup as a 'blessed moment'

A prominent journalist from Qatar has reportedly described LGBTQ+ football fans boycotting the World Cup in the country as a “blessed moment”.

Journalist Jon Holmes screenshotted the tweet, in which Abdulla Alemadi claimed Qatar is “not honoured to welcome such abnormal ideas and tendencies” and that he is looking forward to watching a “clean sporting event without homosexuals”.

He added that it was a “blessed moment” that some LGBTQ+ fans will not be attending the World Cup.

The tweet has since been removed, however a similar one remains up, in which Alemadi equated LGBTQ+ people with “demon worshippers”.

Holmes added in his tweet criticising Alemadi that football fans had been told “everyone is welcome” at the tournament in Qatar, where it is illegal to be gay, and abuses and arrests of the Qatari LGBTQ+ community have been reported as recently as October.

FIFA has consistently reassured LGBTQ+ fans they will be safe to visit Qatar, however several fans have chosen to boycott the World Cup instead, adding that the association’s safety promises are “not even close” to what is needed.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly previously attracted criticism for asking LGBTQ+ fans to “compromise” with Qatar, saying it is an “Islamic country with a very different set of cultural norms”.

“One of the things I would say for football fans is, you know, please do be respectful of the host nation… with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup,” he said on LBC.

Qatar’s ambassador to the UK then added visiting LGBTQ+ fans could “hold hands” but should be “mindful” of “public displays of affection” at the World Cup, which begins on 20 November.

Stonewall chairperson Iain Anderson hit back at Cleverly, saying it is “wrong” to ask LGBTQ+ people to “compromise” with the country.

Anderson, who was a top LGBTQ+ adviser to the Tory government, was questioned about his thoughts on Cleverly’s statement during an interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.  

“I noticed as well that Number 10 Downing Street very, very quickly shall we say corrected the foreign secretary’s position… It was the wrong thing to say,” Anderson said.

“For me, we’ve seen this in countless examples of countries around the world that are looking to liberalise their laws – their really disruptive laws – around LGBTQ+ people.”

FIFA told PinkNews in a statement: “Qatar is committed to ensuring that everyone will be able to enjoy the tournament in a safe and welcoming environment, to building bridges of cultural understanding and to creating an inclusive experience for all participants and attendees, including members of the LGBTIQ+ community.

“FIFA is confident that all necessary measures will be in place for LGBTIQ+ fans and allies to enjoy the tournament in a welcoming and safe environment, just as for everyone else.”

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