Posts Tagged ‘civil rights’

Inclusivity at the World Cup

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Most of us reading this will live in 2011, in the Western World. We’re used to living in a civilised society, summer riots aside. But thanks to globalisation, we’re increasingly finding a clash of cultures on many issues.

A good example of this is the World Cup hosting duties being awarded to Qatar.

The problem with this is that being an Islamic nation, homosexuality (well, homosexual acts, but it amounts to the same thing) is actually illegal there. These are enforced, including against people just on holiday there[1].

Yet, in 2022, thousands of footballers, and several hundred thousand fans will travel to the country. And many of them will be gay. Even if you take a conservative estimate that 1% of people are gay, that puts at least 1,000 gay people in a country where just being themselves – is illegal.

That’s mental. I really don’t think we should be OK with this situation.

Luckily, everyone’s favourite football character Sepp Blatter stepped in to offer some advice. He explained “I’d say they [gay fans] should refrain from any sexual activities.”[2]. Problem solved, I guess. Of course, this is from the same man who doesn’t seem to have a problem with racism[3] and is constantly dogged by allegations of corruption[4].

So what do we do about it? Well, we could get all the major countries to boycott it. Or at least Western countries, who knows how much control His Holiness commands over South America’s attitudes, and the answer is probably quite a lot. We could certainly give it a try though, and it would be a worthy cause. As Bryan Goldberg points out, Qatar also has a terrible human rights record, and that’s just the start of it.

Of course, we probably won’t do that, not because missing the World Cup would be mega rubbish (which it would be, that would be the biggest drawback of not taking part), but because it would be politically insensitive for us to call a nation out on the fact that their state religion is the most intolerant faiths currently practiced in the modern world (then again, maybe I’m just being over critical – it’s easy to take 534 verses out of context5).

Instead, our fearless leader David Cameron hopes that bringing the World Cup to Qatar will show them that homosexuality is actually fine[6]. Apparently, “football can be a great engine for social change and a change of attitudes” and, when it comes down to it, at least there is such a thing as an Islamic soup kitchen.

So, eleven years from now, in an attempt to change social attitudes, we will send hundreds of our citizens into a country where making love to their spouse is a crime punishable by execution. Wonderful.

[6]: – this resource is no longer available