A 35-year-old doctor, who has become the first Qatari to come out publicly as gay, has sought asylum in the United States. 

Nas Mohamed, who is currently living and working as a physician in San Francisco, said he no longer wished to remain “anonymous”. Mohamed said that it was not safe for him to return to Qatar and live his life as an out gay man. 

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Death By Stoning In Qatar

Qatar’s human rights record and its treatment of LGBTQI people have come under the spotlight after the country was selected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar ranks at the 143rd position out of 150 countries on the LGBTQ+ travel safety index

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, which criminalises “sodomy” and “sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex”. Under its Penal Code, gay men can be punished with a prison term of up to seven years and fines. The country also implements the Islamic Sharia law. Muslim gay men can face death by stoning, though there is no known case of the sentence having been imposed in recent times. 

A 2020 US State Department report said that “there were no public reports of violence against LGBTI persons, who largely hid their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics due to an underlying pattern of discrimination toward LGBTI persons.”

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Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out last year, said that he was scared to go to Qatar for the World Cup. “I read [that Qatar] gives a death penalty to people, for gay people, in Qatar. It is something that I am very scared of and wouldn’t really want to go to Qatar for that,” said Cavallo.

There Are A Lot Of Gay People In Qatar

Nas told The Independent that there were a “lot of gay people in Qatar”. Nas said he grew up in an “extremely religious” society and found he liked boys during his teens. 

However, he could not come out or confide in anyone while growing up in a place where “male, macho, righteous and misogynistic culture” was celebrated. Nas revealed that there were gay conversion therapy centres in Qatar. 

Nas revealed that it was during a trip as a medical student to Las Vegas in his 20s that he first stepped into a gay club and got confirmantion of his sexuality. 

“I walked into a gay club and I knew I was 100 per cent gay. I went home and cried – I thought my life is in crisis. I thought I was going to go to hell, my life is damned,” Nas told The Independent

Nas said that he feared he would be killed if anyone came to know that he was gay. He moved to the US in 2011 to take up a medical residency and since then has visited Qatar only once in 2014 as he did not feel safe. 

“I already lost everything – my citizenship, my family and my financial security in Qatar. For us to change things for LGBT+ Qataris, we need more people to come out,” Nas told The Independent.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 





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