– They are trained in attacking gays

He is the first gay man from Qatar to appear in public; Nasser Mohammed now lives in exile in the USA.

He still fears for his own life.

– I do not feel safe, especially not after I came out officially, he tells TV 2.

Homosexuality is criminal and can be punished with up to seven years in prison in Qatar.

After appearing on the BBC, he has received death threats – but also an overwhelming number of inquiries from other gays from all over the Middle East who live in hiding.

– We are all afraid to speak out. But it is important, especially now.

– In 2022, I will be the first to come out. That alone should tell a story of what is happening to us.

The awarding of this year’s World Cup has not made it easier for gays and LGBTI people in Qatar.

On the contrary, according to Nasser.

– I left Qatar several years ago, but I still have contact with people who live there – it has become very, very strict for LGBTI people. More than before. It is completely impossible to exist socially, legally in the health system – and feel safe and live there.

PROHIBITED: In the streets of Doha, there are no rainbow effects or gays showing their love in the streets. Photo: Marte Christensen / TV2

– Trained in attacking gays

World Cup manager Hassan Al-Thawadi has said that everyone is welcome during the World Cup which is played in November / December.

At the same time, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah al-Ansari has stated that rainbow flags can be taken from supporters during the World Cup in Qatar.

To protect them from being attacked

He is involved in monitoring the security around the World Cup event.

– WARNING AGAINST RAINBOW FLAG: Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah al-Ansari. Photo: Darko Bandic

– They say they want to confiscate rainbow flags to protect fans, and there is something true in that. Because we’re being attacked there. What happens if something happens to a football fan? asks Nasser Mohamed.

Police and society are trained to attack gays.

They are taught that homosexuality is evil.

– How do you think it will be for gay fans during the World Cup?

– I’m worried about the fans, to be honest. For the masses have been trained to attack us for so long. How are you going to change their training these days World Cup items?

– What are the police doing now?

– This is a minefield, says football president Lise Klaveness.

She has been extremely concerned about what she can do with the safety of LGBTI people, when she has been in Doha this week.

POLICE: Lise Klaveness is concerned that the authorities ensure the training of the police.  Photo: AFP

POLICE: Lise Klaveness is concerned that the authorities ensure the training of the police. Photo: AFP

– It is to find the concrete. What do the authorities do now with police training if someone has a rainbow flag in front of a mosque? What do the police do if they get a rainbow flag on their face?

Klaveness is affected by Nasser’s accounts.

– It is strong, this is the first open gay in Qatar. It says something about the discipline and how strong control there is around this issue.

The football president has put pressure on Qatar’s ban on homosexuality to be lifted during the World Cup – without success.

– Now we have to work concretely to make it as safe as it can be during the championship, and that it for the gay Qataris moves in a positive direction afterwards.

AFFECTED: Football president Lise Klaveness says it is strong to hear Nasser Mohamed's story.  Photo: Marte Christensen / TV 2

AFFECTED: Football president Lise Klaveness says it is strong to hear Nasser Mohamed’s story. Photo: Marte Christensen / TV 2

– Would not display rainbow flags

Mari Norbakk believes that gay football fans who travel to Qatar have a privileged background that provides some protection.

She is a postdoctoral fellow at Christian Michelsen’s institute, and knows the conditions in Qatar well.

PRIVILEGED: Social anthropologist Mari Norbakk believes visiting gay football fans will have some protection in Qatar.  Photo: Erik Teige / TV 2

PRIVILEGED: Social anthropologist Mari Norbakk believes visiting gay football fans will have some protection in Qatar. Photo: Erik Teige / TV 2

– When the World Cup manager says that everyone is welcome, I think in a way that they mean it. But then for supporters. As long as they do not show love in public.

Nordbakk is afraid that some may perceive rainbow effects as a provocation.

– I do not know if I had taken the chance to go with a rainbow flag or a rainbow bracelet today. And I know that at least I would not have taken the chance if I had come from a state where homosexuality is also forbidden.

FIFA FLAG ONLY: In Qatar, rainbow effects are illegal.  Photo: Pål S. Schaathun / TV 2

FIFA FLAG ONLY: In Qatar, rainbow effects are illegal. Photo: Pål S. Schaathun / TV 2

She believes there is a risk of being sent home with the message that this person has expressed solidarity with crooked people.

– A common approach to visitors who do not comply with the rules in Qatar, is deportation.

However, Norbakk raises questions about who to focus on in this topic.

– Are they the ones who will travel in and out. Or are they the ones who will live there with the consequences of the World Cup in the foreseeable future?

SECURITY GUARDS EVERYWHERE: Surveillance cameras and security guards are part of the cityscape of Doha.  Photo: Pål S. Schaathun / TV 2

SECURITY GUARDS EVERYWHERE: Surveillance cameras and security guards are part of the cityscape of Doha. Photo: Pål S. Schaathun / TV 2

Appeals to Beckham

In the United States, Nasser Mohamed has started his own signature campaign.

He does not believe that waving rainbow flags during the World Cup will help, but that powerful figures such as Qatar Ambassador David Beckham and FIFA leaders must raise their voices.

– Beckham immediately supports gay players who come out of the closet. But when it comes to us in Qatar and LGBTI fans, you hear nothing.

QATAR AMBASSADOR: David Beckham is one of the ambassadors for the World Cup.  Pictured here at a Formula 1 race in the country.  Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

QATAR AMBASSADOR: David Beckham is one of the ambassadors for the World Cup. Pictured here at a Formula 1 race in the country. Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

– It must be the most influential positions that can not be harmed by Qatar, who must speak out.

And he fears that the situation for gays in Qatar may get worse when the World Cup is over.

– Now the country is being watched with a floodlight, and it can be bad for us. The World Cup seals the opportunities for many to be able to express their opinion and get out of it afterwards.

That is why it is so important that top footballers like Lise Klaveness, also work for a lasting change, he says.

– Her speech was important, but I want to challenge her that she only talked about decriminalization after the World Cup.

TV 2 has been in contact with the Qatari authorities and given the opportunity to respond to the statements of Nasser Mohamed in this case, but has not yet received a response.

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