Qatari ambassador receives petition for LGBT rights

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Qatar’s ambassador to Germany on Monday received a call for the country to abolish the death penalty for homosexuality by taking part in a human rights conference organized by the German soccer federation just two months before the Middle Eastern country hosts the World Cup.

Dario Minden, representative of a fan group, addressed the Qatari ambassador, Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, in English at the congress in Frankfurt.

“I am a man and I like men,” Minden said. “I like them — don’t be surprised — I have relationships with other men. This is normal. So the best thing is to accept it, or walk away from football. Because the most important rule in football is that football is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lesbian, if you’re gay. It’s for everyone. For the boys. For the girls. For everyone in between.”

Minden continued. “The death penalty must be abolished. Abolish all punishments that refer to sexual and gender identity. The rule that football is for everyone is very important. We can’t let you break it, no matter how rich you are. You are welcome to join the international soccer community and, of course, host a great tournament. But that’s the way things are in sports. You have to accept the rules.”

Al Thani was able to respond later, but his comments were not released. Only the first 90 minutes of the federation congress were open to the public and the press was not invited.

Federation spokesman Steffen Simon said the organization had not made a decision to keep most of the congress quiet, but “we received a clear message from some participants that they wanted to discuss these matters internally with us. They don’t want to talk about it in public. We respect that.”

Qatar’s laws have been questioned for the past decade leading up to the World Cup.

Police Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, the leader in charge of World Cup security, previously told The Associated Press that rainbow flags would be banned from the stands of tournament matches to protect fans from attacks for promoting the rights of the LGBT community

Al Ansari insisted that LGBT couples will be welcomed and accepted in Qatar for the World Cup, which runs from November 20 to December 18, despite the fact that same-sex relationships are still considered a crime in the conservative Gulf nation. Persian.

Prior to Minden’s pronouncement, Al Thani complained to congress that the human rights issue diverts attention from the tournament.

“We all care about the human rights situation. But I would enjoy it more if I saw that we don’t focus on just one issue, also how football is enjoyed and the effect that football has on the world’s population,” Al Thani said.

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