In an interview with German public broadcaster ZDF only two weeks before the commencement of the soccer tournament in the Gulf state, a Qatari World Cup ambassador referred to homosexuality as "damage in the mind," underscoring concerns about the conservative country's treatment of gays and lesbians.
In an interview with a German journalist, former Qatari national team player Khalid Salman stated that homosexuality is "haram," or banned in Arabic and that he had an issue with youngsters seeing gay people.
Monday's ZDF news program Heute Journal featured excerpts from the televised interview. The complete interview, which is part of a documentary, will air on ZDF on Tuesday.
The interior minister of Germany criticized Salman's remarks.
Tuesday, Nancy Faeser stated, "Of course such comments are terrible, and that is the reason why we are working on things in Qatar hopefully improving."
Approximately 1.2 million international tourists are anticipated in Qatar for the tournament, which has been met with criticism and suspicion since FIFA selected the gas-rich country as host in December 2010.
Concerns over LGBTQ World Cup attendees have been voiced for quite some time.
Salman stated in the interview that homosexuality "is a spiritual harm."
“During the World Cup, many things will come here to the country. Let’s talk about gays,” Salman said in English, which is simultaneously dubbed into German in the TV segment. “The most important thing is, everybody will accept that they come here. But they will have to accept our rules.”
ZDF stated that the interview was cut short by a World Cup media representative when Salman expressed his opinions on gays.
Faeser, who is also in charge of sports, stated that Qatar's prime minister has given her a "safety guarentee" for all supporters, "no matter where they come from, whom they love and what they believe in.”
Faeser stated that the position of the prime minister, who is also the interior minister of Qatar, has not changed. She intends to attend the opening World Cup match between Germany and Japan.
The Qatari government summoned the German ambassador last month after Faeser appeared to criticize the country's human rights record.