Qatari academic Dr Nayef bin Nahar said he was ‘proud’ US journalist Grant Wahl was detained for wearing a rainbow t-shirt
A Qatari academic has said he’s ‘proud’ that American soccer reporter Grant Wahl was refused entry to a World Cup stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow shirt.
Wahl was attending the USA’s first game of the tournament against Wales on Monday and wore a black t-shirt with a circle in the colors of the rainbow wrapping around a soccer ball, in support of the LGBTQ+ community.
He took to Twitter to claim that he was initially refused entry to the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan. He also revealed that shortly after sending out his first tweet, security staff ‘forcibly ripped his phone from his hands.’
Wahl’s account was met with widespread condemnation on social media but Dr Nayef bin Nahar, a director of social sciences at Qatar University, had an alternative view.
Retweeting Wahl, he said: ‘As a Qatari I’m proud of what happened.
‘I don’t know when will the westerners realize that their values aren’t universal. There are other cultures with different values that should be equally respected.
‘Let’s not forget that the West is not the spokesperson for humanity.’
American soccer reporter Wahl claimed he was refused entry to a World Cup stadium in Qatar for wearing a rainbow t-shirt ahead of the US’s opener against Wales Monday
The USA kickstarts its campaign at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan at 2pm ET
According to Qatar university’s website, Bin Naharis director of humanities and social sciences.
He apparently has seven books, one of which is called ‘Introduction to International Relations’.
The World Cup in Qatar has faced criticism for ‘sportswashing’ due to the host nation’s poor human rights record, in particular the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
In Qatar, male homosexuality is punishable by a prison sentence and same-sex marriages are not recognized by the government.
As recently as this month, a Qatar World Cup ambassador told a German TV broadcaster that homosexuality was ‘damage to the mind’, and it remains illegal to be gay in the conservative Muslim country.
Wahl was attending his native USA’s first World Cup game against Wales, and wrote on social media: ‘Just now: Security guard refusing to let me into the stadium for USA-Wales. “You have to change your shirt. It’s not allowed.”’
Around 50 minutes later he posted again to reassure fans and social media users, revealing that he had been detained for almost half an hour.
He added: ‘I’m OK, but that was an unnecessary ordeal. Am in the media center, still wearing my shirt. Was detained for nearly half an hour. Go gays.’
Wahl later revealed that he was finally granted entry to the media center after being detained for almost half an hour and reassured social media users that he was okay
A security guard reportedly told Wahl that his shirt was “political” and therefore not allowed, while another refused to return the phone.
Wahl revealed that Andrew Das, a New York Times reporter, walked past and was detained too after Wahl informed him what was happening.
Das was eventually let go, while Wahl was questioned if he was from the UK to which he informed them he was from New York.
A security commander eventually arrived on the scene and apologized to Wahl before letting him go. Wahl said that a FIFA official also apologized.
Wahl’s tweet comes amid yet another scandal to hit the tournament after FIFA revealed that team captains could face a booking and potential suspension if they go through with their decision to wear the OneLove rainbow armband in a mark of solidarity for the LGBT+ community.
Captains of nine European nations, including USA’s Group B rivals England’s Harry Kane and Wales’ Gareth Bale, were planning to wear the One Love armbands promoting inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar, a country which criminalizes same-sex relationships.
England and six European nations since confirmed they will not wear the OneLove armbands in Qatar after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for those wearing it.
The decision was made that England captain Harry Kane would not wear One Love armband
The FA made the call amid fears the England skipper would be booked immediately for it
England’s FA had expected a fine for breaching FIFA’s statutes but the prospect of Kane being booked, and hence facing a suspension, was a scenario English football’s governing body were concerned about.
The Three Lions’ talismanic striker did not don the armband in their opening game against Iran in the US’s Group B.
FIFA has strict rules about apparel that can be worn by players and the armband is not allowed under the code.
The start to the tournament has already dissolved into something of a farce after a series of controversies in recent days, including a last minute alcohol ban, a largely empty stadium for the opening ceremony and thousands of people involved in a crush to enter FIFA fan zones.
The tournament had several controversies in the buildup, including a last-minute alcohol ban
The fan festival is one of the few places in the host nation where visiting fans can buy alcohol
The oil-rich nation has faced a barrage of criticism over its treatment of foreign workers, LGBT rights and social restrictions, staking its reputation on delivering a smooth tournament. It has been accused of trying to stage manage the World Cup with ‘fake fans’ to spin positive coverage.
The US made its own huge statement last week as it redesigned its crest to incorporate the rainbow flag, in a bid to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
The USMNT appear to have made an immediate stand on their arrival in Doha, though, by changing the usual red stripes on their crest to a rainbow around their team base.
Pictures from the Al Gharrafa SC Stadium in Al Rayyan, where the US team trained on last Monday, showed a huge US crest on the wall, alongside the slogan ‘One Nation’.
The US national team crest has been changed from its usual red to rainbow colors last week
Before the switch, the stripes in the flag were all red – but now they are rainbow colors
It is understood the crest on the team’s kits on the field won’t be changed, but the new colors will be shown off at their practice facilities.
Neil Buethe, the USMNT’s Chief Communications Officer, told DailyMail.com: ‘Our rainbow badge has an important and consistent role in the identity of U.S. Soccer.
‘As part of our approach for any match or event, we include rainbow branding to support and embrace the LGBTQ community, as well as to promote a spirit of inclusiveness and welcoming to all fans across the globe.
‘As a result, locations that we will manage and operate at the FIFA World Cup, such as the team hotel, media areas and parties, will feature both traditional and rainbow U.S. Soccer branding.’