Rainbow flags could be taken off fans at the World Cup in Qatar
Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari is against the 'overt' promotion of LGBTQ freedoms
Rainbow flags could be taken off fans at the World Cup in Qatar later this year in order to 'protect' them from being attacked for promoting gay rights, a senior leader overseeing security for the tournament has said.
As reported by AP News, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari stated that LGBTQ couples would be welcomed and accepted in Qatar, despite same-sex relations remaining criminalised in the country.
FIFA previously said rainbow flags would be welcome in Qatar
However, Al Ansari also insisted that he is against the promotion of LGBTQ freedoms - for example, the rainbow flag - even though FIFA and World Cup organisers previously said the flags would be welcome across the stadiums in Qatar.
"If he (a fan) raised the rainbow flag and I took it from him, it's not because I really want to, really, take it, to really insult him, but to protect him," Al Ansari said.
"Because if it's not me, somebody else around him might attack (him)... I cannot guarantee the behavior of the whole people. And I will tell him: 'Please, no need to really raise that flag at this point'."
Al Ansari - director of the Department of International Cooperation and Chairman of the National Counterterrorism Committee at the Ministry of Interior - spoke about World Cup planning for around an hour.
'Don't really come in and insult the whole society' - Al Ansari
He said that it is 'good' that the LGBTQ community can watch the games, but instructed them not to 'come in and insult the whole society because of this.'
"You want to demonstrate your view about the (LGBTQ) situation, demonstrate it in a society where it will be accepted," he added.
"We realise that this man got the ticket, comes here to watch the game, not to demonstrate, a political (act) or something which is in his mind.
"Watch the game. That's good. But don't really come in and insult the whole society because of this."
However, Al Ansari insisted that he is not telling LBGTQ fans to stay away from Qatar, and that he is not warning them of facing prosecution.
He said: "Reserve the room together, sleep together - this is something that's not in our concern.
"We are here to manage the tournament. Let's not go beyond, the individual personal things which might be happening between these people... this is actually the concept.
"Here we cannot change the laws. You cannot change the religion for 28 days of World Cup."
Al Ansari doesn't view himself as being discriminatory
Although it was pointed out that visiting supporters and teams could take offence to the comments, Al Ansari claimed he did not view himself as being discriminatory.
"I am risking... a minority view against a majority," he said. "We have to be close to the problem before it erupts and gets out of control. If somebody attacks you, then I have to get involved and it will be too late," he stated.
World Cup chief executive Nasser Al-Khater also insisted that 'we will respect' FIFA guidelines on allowing rainbow flags in stadiums.
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