If you see what happens in the villas of my hotel…”, says the manager of a large hotel chain in Qatar. Behind the closed doors of houses, villas and hotel rooms, liberties are taken with conservatism in the emirate. But in the peninsula, a Wahhabi Islamic country, the estimate rises to virtue rank.
In a metropolitan hotel, a sign indicates to the visitor the behavior we will thank him for adopting. By the way, he will be asked not to take pictures of people on the street. On social networks, bars and clubs in the capital manage to get advertising done without ever showing a customer. If selling alcohol is possible with a special license, the European expat would prefer to avoid buying alcohol themselves. As soon as you buy a bottle from the specialty shops, your ID is scanned. I’d rather not appear on my file.” In Qatar, private life should remain private, and public displays of affection and kissing are unacceptable, including for heterosexual couples.
“‘Culture’ should not be used as a cover”
Asked by the British Daily
Regarding respecting LGBT rights during the World Cup, the authorities put forward this argument: “Everyone will be welcome in Qatar in 2022, regardless of race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. We are a relatively conservative society – for example, Public displays of affection are not part of our culture. We believe in mutual respect and therefore, while we welcome everyone, we expect in return that everyone respect our culture and traditions.”
An argument that raises eyebrows from NGO Human Rights Watch: “Qatar’s constant reference to ‘culture’ to deny LGBTQI rights misrepresents responsibility for state systems You must not use “culture” as a cover for discourses, practices, and laws that have effectively excluded content related to sexual orientation and gender identity from the public domain. »
If, he says, some members of powerful families benefit from the “indolence” of authorities who turn a blind eye to their cause, “it would be wrong to say that Qatar applies a don’t ask, don’t tell (“live happily, live in secret”) credo with regard to LGBTQIA+” points out Nasir Mohamed, an exiled gay activist. “They go fishing, and people in disguise set up dates to find gay people. You can’t even live quietly.”