Qatar is one of the more liberal countries in the Islamic world, but hosting the World Cup in 2022 is still looking to be a tightrope walk for navigating the tensions inherent between Islam and the secular West. This was at Salon recently:
[FIFA President Sepp] Blatter, speaking in South Africa on Monday at the launch of a post-2010 World Cup legacy project, was asked if he could foresee any cultural problems with the tournament being held [in 2022] in Qatar. “I’d say they (gay fans) should refrain from any sexual activities,” he said, smiling. [Gay rights activist Juris] Lavrikovs noted the situation “is not a joke.”
“This is a matter of life and death to people,” Lavrikovs said. “Qatar and more than 70 other countries in the world still criminalize individuals for homosexual relationships, and some countries even punish them by death sentence.”
A country ever more at ease with technology (as well as art, film, and critical education) must surely become, over time, more relaxed about other Western cultural innovations as well. Don’t ask, don’t tell?