Barbaric conversion therapy centre found just minutes away from Qatar World Cup stadium

A picture of the golden-brown outer rim of the Lusail stadium in Doha, Qatar

The line between World Cup festivities and the grim reality of Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws is much closer than most people might think.

A report from the Peter Tatchell Foundation found that the Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar, is a five-minute drive from the Wifaq Family Consulting Center, which practices barbaric conversion therapy.

The conversion centres were discovered after independent investigations by the Human Rights Watch discovered Wifaq, and many other institutions like it.

Wifaq is reportedly funded by the Qatari government as a section of the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre (AMAN), which claims to “spread awareness and educate” so-called “social rehabilitation practices”.

Peter Tatchell, in a purple tie, speaks to an audience through a microphone stand while holding a card.
Peter Tatchell was told by Qatari activists that the conversion therapy was psychologically traumatising. (Getty)

Wifaq itself boasts about its claimed ability to “mitigate the effects of rapid changes in the family in Qatar,” while also raising “the efficiency of family members to manage a stable and cohesive family life”.

But this wording merely alludes to the “psychological and religious brainwashing” practices done to Wifaq consultants, according to LGBTQ+ activist Peter Tatchell.

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“Most LGBT+ conversion treatments result from family referrals in a bid to convert family members,” he explained.

“However, there is also a reference on the Wifaq website to family court cases – and this can include court referrals for compulsory conversion treatment.

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These compulsory treatments usually involve weekly counselling and guidance sessions which involve psychological and religious “pressure” that can last for months.

“One young gay Qatari told me he had been put through a gay conversion programme,” Tatchell said.

“He was so traumatised by the experience, and the pervasive homophobia that he had experienced in Qatar, that he later committed suicide.”

Conversion therapy bas been compared to torture by experts at the United Nations.

FIFA criticised for hosting World Cup in Qatar

Football association FIFA has been routinely criticised for hosting the 2022 World Cup within Qatar for reasons such as this.

Open homosexuality is punishable in Qatar by up to seven years in prison or, under Sharia Law, death by stoning.

Additionally, trans people are routinely arrested and called crossdressers – which is also a punishable offence in Qatar.

A trans woman in Qatar was reportedly forced to cut her hair and have her breast tissue “removed” after being arrested by authorities.

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The anonymous individual told the BBC that she wanted to speak out sooner, but was “very afraid”.

She said she was arrested for “impersonating a woman” and forced to cut her hair.

After being arrested and interrogated several times, authorities told her to remove “her breast tissue”, leaving her with scars across her chest.

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