The only gay Qatari with a global profile has warned that the banning of rainbow armbands at the World Cup will have global repercussions for LGBTQ+ people facing hate and intolerance.
Dr Nas Mohamed reacted with dismay to the ‘dangerous and frightening’ decision after England and Wales abandoned a show of solidarity in the face of possible FIFA yellow cards and suspensions.
England captain Harry Kane was due to sport the OneLove armband ahead of the Three Lions clash against Iran yesterday.
However, the football associations of England and Wales, fearing that FIFA could impose sporting sanctions, decided to abandon the show of solidarity.
Dr Nas, who now lives in the US, warned that abandoning the “simplest gesture of love and support” would have global repercussions for the LGBTQ+ community.
He told Metro.co.uk: “This problem is definitely global. We are all fighting the same mentality in different countries.
“People are allowing this to happen on such a global scale in Qatar.
“It’s a blow against us everywhere.”
The associations have asked captains not to wear the armbands, which feature pride colors and a striped heart, because of the sporting sanctions they could face from FIFA.
They said world football’s governing body had been “very clear” that it would take action which could include players “booked or even forced off the pitch”.
The descent followed FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who gave an outraged opening speech on Sunday in which he compared having ‘red hair and freckles’ to being gay, disabled or hardworking. migrant.
His lyrics were a precursor to the body’s tough line on armbands, which would have been a visible expression of tolerance and inclusion in a country where same-sex relationships are illegal.
Dr Nas, 35, has previously described the oil-rich emirate as a ‘house of abused children’ in terms of its treatment of LGBTQ+ people.
Now living in California, the doctor has received death threats and abusive messages on social media and accepts he will never return to Qatar.
He also referenced a gunman killing five people at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday night, coinciding with the World Cup opener in Qatar.
“I strongly believe that we, the global LGBT community, need to fight this together,” Dr. Nas said.
“It’s dangerous and scary.
“The FIFA President gave an extremely dismissive opening speech. They followed that up by taking away the simplest gesture of love and support. Unfortunately, we also had a shooting at a gay club from Colorado to the States United on the first day of the FIFA World Cup.
“Those who are silent in the world about our rights in Qatar today have our blood on their hands when we are injured anywhere.”
“Allowing hate speech against the LGBT community and allowing the removal of our rights leads to violence against us.”
Dr. Nas, who runs the Osra medical practice in San Francisco, founded the Alwan Foundation, which aims to advance LGBTQ+ rights in the Middle East, with a focus on the Gulf region. He is also president of the Proud Maroons, Qatar’s first LGBTQ+ supporters club.
His messages of inclusion are increasingly at odds with events in Qatar, where Welsh captain Gareth Bale also had to drop out of the show of solidarity ahead of the game against the United States yesterday.
The Netherlands, where the OneLove gesture started ahead of Euro 2020, were another of the European teams that dropped the symbol.
Female Wales fans, including the country’s former women’s football captain, Laura McAllister, were reportedly asked by stewards to remove their rainbow bucket hats ahead of the game at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
And an American journalist said he was refused entry to the arena because he was wearing a T-shirt with an LGBTQ+ rainbow. Grant Wahl described being told by a security guard that the symbol was “unauthorized” before being “held for almost half an hour”.
Two LGBTQ+ fan groups, 3 Lions Pride and The Rainbow Wall, released a joint statement saying they have “no faith” in FIFA or the World Cup.
They said: “By seeking to censor the FA and European players by forcing them to drop the OneLove armband aimed at combating all forms of discrimination, FIFA is guilty of violating fundamental human rights to freedom of speech. and expression that every one of us should undoubtedly have. In doing so, FIFA is also guilty of silencing the work of combating discrimination in the game and giving a platform to hatred.
“This abuse of power by those who have chosen to remain silent for so long is a gross betrayal of trust and cannot be tolerated.
“We have no faith in FIFA, no faith in this World Cup.”
FIFA has launched its own ‘No Discrimination’ campaign, allowing all 32 captains to wear a more discreet armband ahead of its planned introduction in the quarter-finals.
The logo was worn by Kane, Bale and Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk in their teams’ first games yesterday.
In a statement, the Football Associations of England and Wales said: “Our players and managers are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show their support in other ways.”
FIFA did not directly explain its position on the rainbow armbands, but reiterated the existing rules when announcing the non-discrimination decision yesterday.
The governing body said: “FIFA is an inclusive organization that wants to make football work for the benefit of society by supporting good and legitimate causes, but this must be done within the rules of competition known to all.”
Mr. Infantino further defended FIFA and Qatar’s approach to LGBTQ+ issues.
“I have spoken about this subject with the most senior leaders of the country,” he said. “They have confirmed, and I can confirm that everyone is welcome. If someone says otherwise, that’s not the opinion of the country and it’s certainly not the opinion of FIFA.
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