Qatar minister says LGBTQ+ community can visit, but shouldn’t try to ‘change us’

Qatar minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi

A Qatar minister has said the LGBTQ+ community cannot “dictate” what Qataris should believe.

Energy minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said that the government has “no problem” with LGBTQ+ people visiting the country, but that they should not try and influence political or religious beliefs.

Speaking to the German newspaper Bild, he said the West wants to “dictate what it wants” to Qatar.

“If they want to visit Qatar, we have no problem with it,” Al-Kaabi continued.

“If you want to change me so that I will say I believe in LGBTQ+, that my family should be LGBTQ, that I change my laws and the Islamic laws in order to satisfy the west – then this is not acceptable.”

LGBTQ+ identities are currently illegal in the country and can be punishable by imprisonment or death by stoning if the imprisoned individual identifies as a Muslim.

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These laws and the increasingly worrying stories surrounding migrant worker deaths have led protestors to question sporting governing body FIFA’s decision to host the 2022 World Cup in the region.

German minister wears OneLove armband during Qatar World Cup

Al-Kaabi’s comments came after German interior minister Nancy Faeser was seen wearing a OneLove armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community during the Germany v Japan game.

The armbands were originally intended to be worn by team captains of various nationalities but were banned for players under threat of sanctions by FIFA.

Seated in red cushioned seats at the Qatar World Cup stadium, Nancy Faeser is pictured in a red suit wearing the OneLove LGBTQ+ armband.
Nancy Faeser was seen wearing the OneLove armband during the Germany v Japan game. (Getty)

Faeser criticised FIFA for the sanctions, which included a preliminary yellow card, saying: “It’s not alright how federations are being put under pressure.

“In today’s times it is incomprehensible that FIFA does not want people to openly stand for tolerance and against discrimination,” she added.

“It does not fit in our times and it is not appropriate towards people.”

Openly gay, UK sport minister Stuart Andrew also wore the pro-LGBTQ+ OneLove armband and a rainbow tie to the World Cup in Qatar, in defiance of FIFA’s rulings.

Stuart Andrew wears the OneLove armband in Qatar.
UK sport minister Stuart Andrew wears the OneLove armband in Qatar. (Credit: Getty Images)

In protest of the decision, the German football team placed their hands over their mouths during a photo ahead of the game against Japan.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said the matter was out of the players’ hands now, adding they’re left to “doing what we do best, which is playing football”.

“The message is clear but from now on all we can do is concentrate on the game.”

In a statement after the match, the German Football Association said: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to make a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable,” it continued. “That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why the message is so important to us.”