Qatar may allow LGBTQ flags, protests during World Cup: report
Qatar may allow international gay players to fly their national flags during the World Cup football tournament, in response to the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws, a report said.
Qatar could also allow international LGBT protesters to stage a “freedom” march on the capital’s main square, according to the report, which was submitted by a German government official.
The report was obtained by The Associated Press. It said the government had to follow the law while respecting the rights of the people to express themselves.
The report added the World Cup was “not an open tournament. We respect the rights of everyone. This is not a public stage.”
The report comes after protests in Qatar over the country’s controversial laws, which specifically criminalize same-sex relationships.
The country imposed a jail sentence for those found “caught in illegal combinations with individuals of the same sex.” They have been fined a few hundred dollars and could face a lifetime ban if the charges are upheld.
The AP report said: “The new regulations do not permit gay and lesbian athletes to represent Qatar in the World Cup. It also prohibits gay and lesbian people from marching in city squares to express themselves, or to protest the government’s policies at the tournament. These restrictions are similar to those imposed on other countries with Muslim majority populations.”
At the same time, the report said the government has taken a hard line on what “freedom” means for Qatar.
“The government has introduced a “freedom agenda” that is both inclusive and exclusionary,” the report said.
“The freedom agenda has five key areas: gay rights, equality, human rights, education and youth. The government is attempting to move towards this agenda and to move away from its strict interpretation of human rights.”
The report also warned against using the World Cup for political purpose, saying the tournament should be used as a platform to “improve” Qatar’s image rather than to promote “anti-Western or anti-U.S. views.”
“All international sporting events should be