The ball started rolling. The great stars of world football have come to Qatarthe streets of the country have been filled with color and fans, the stadiums are just as splendid as the skyscrapers that surround Doha, the capital, but nothing has been able to stop the criticism and questioning that tarnishes FIFA’s biggest football event.
It is a different World Cup in many ways. Starting with the distance —Qatar occupies the Arabian peninsula, to the west of Asia— and the culture, which is quite a shock for Westerners, although perhaps the biggest difference is generated by religion, Sharia law and the prohibitions for tourists.
What is sharia?
Qatar is a country governed by Islam, religion of about 80% of the population and Sharia is a religious law inspired by the Koran and the Sunna. In Arabic it means “the clear path to the water” and popular belief refers to the fact that it leads to “salvation”.
The Sharia as a whole is a code of conduct that determines the vast majority of aspects of Muslim life, defining what is permitted and prohibited, morality, cults, and right from wrong.
As pointed out International Amnesty, the sharia, in addition to duties, contemplates “terrible punishments such as stoning, whipping and amputations”. Likewise, the organization points out that historically it has been used for “extremist purposes” because they leave “a space for interpretation.”
One of the biggest controversies that the organization of the World Cup Qatar 2022 is the harassment of community members LGBTIQ+.
The country’s penal code punishes consensual sexual relations between men over the age of 16 with 7 years in jail (article 285). The document also establishes penalties of 1 to 3 years for any man who incites another to “commit an act of sodomy or immorality” (article 296).
The Qatari government has ensured that members of the LGBTIQ+ community who travel to the World Cup will not be penalized or have legal problems as long as they abide by the rules established in public spaces.
“Public displays of affection are frowned upon, and this applies to everyone. (…). Qatar and neighboring countries are more modest and conservative. This is what we ask fans to respect. We are sure they will. Just as we respect different cultures, we expect them to be respected,” he said. Nasser Al KhaterCEO of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, a few weeks ago, which sparked controversy.
Qatar It is a conservative country, where no less than a group of women and men follow a dress code. For this reason, tourists are recommended to avoid wearing transparent clothing or exposing the skin.
Shorts or sleeveless shirts are not normally worn and, according to the UK’s The Independent newspaper, entry into some buildings may be refused if standards are not met.
There will be no alcoholic beverages
The sale of alcoholic beverages is limited in the eight stadiums hosting the Qatar 2022 World Cup. This was announced in an unexpected statement by the FIFA: “Following discussions between the authorities of the organizing country and FIFA, the decision has been made to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages on the FIFA Fan Festival, other meeting places for fans and venues that have a license to do so. , and remove beer outlets from the perimeter of World Cup stadiums.”
Islamic law restricts the consumption of alcohol and the Penal Code punishes being intoxicated in the streets with penalties of 6 months in prison and fines of more than 800 dollars.
During the Qatar vs. Ecuador resounded throughout the stadium: “We want beer, we want beer”, in clear rejection of the country’s restrictions in one of the most controversial World Cups and one that will not be remembered specifically for soccer.