An interview with a World Cup ambassador for Qatar ignited a fair amount of controversy on Monday.
2022 tournament ambassador and former Qatar international Khalid Salman lit the fire while talking to German broadcaster ZDF. He said that homosexuality was “haram,” which means it is forbidden by Islam law. When asked why it was forbidden, he put forth the following statement: “It is damage in the mind.”
He also added that he was concerned that children would learn “something that is not good” if LGBTQ tourists visit Qatar for the upcoming World Cup.
Naturally, the statement was met with backlash, including from Bayern Munich fans. During Bayern’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen on Tuesday, a banner was noticeable in the stadium’s Südkurve stand. It said “Damaged minds! F**k you Khalid & co.”
Bayern fans respond to Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman who described homosexuality as “damage in the mind” - 'Damaged minds! F*** you Khalid & co' [ @itstheicebird] pic.twitter.com/RT7U5bzJEl— Bayern & Die Mannschaft (@iMiaSanMia_en) November 8, 2022
The Bayern fans certainly did not mince words in expressing their displeasure towards Salman’s statement. Bundesliga fans in general have been openly protesting the tournament as it draws closer, with Bayern and Borussia Dortmund fans unfurling banners criticizing Qatar’s negligence of human rights last weekend.
Bayern and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka also offered his view on the matter.
“It (Salman’s statement) is very oppressive. This gives a human image from another millennium, it’s not what we stand for and not what we set an example for,” Goretzka said after Bayern’s match against Werder Bremen on Tuesday (via @iMiaSanMia). “It’s absolutely unacceptable to make such a statement.”
Goretzka was already known for his social work off the pitch, so his words come as little surprise. In the Euro 2020 group stage match against Hungary, Goretzka famously sent a heart gesture to the Hungarian ultras after scoring the equalizer that sent Germany through to the round of 16.
Said heart offered a message of love and inclusiveness, and naturally, he has weighed in again in support of LGBTQ rights.
With all the controversy surrounding the World Cup — which kicks off in less than two weeks — it is heartwarming to see that human decency has not been lost on the supporters and the players.
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