More than a million World Cup fans are preparing to visit the Gulf to watch the month-long World Cup in Qatar from November.
As the first World Cup will be staged in the Middle East, social norms and religious practices will likely differ from those experienced at previous tournaments.
Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, has made several headlines after its long-standing ban on sex between unmarried individuals drew public attention. Thus, according to reports, the country seeks to enforce the ban and does not wish to exclude foreign fans who will be in the country for the entire tournament length, and those who violate the ban may face as much as seven years in prison. And apart from pre-marital sex, some commonplace activities are prohibited in Qatar. Let us take a look at a few of them below.
1. Premarital sex
As stated in the introduction, pre-marital sex is one of the common illegal activities in Qatar. Unmarried sexual activity is prohibited in that country. This is based on Islamic legal tradition, which classifies sex outside of marriage, pregnancy outside of marriage, and adultery as crimes punishable by up to seven years in prison. With very strict and scary consequences if you are caught. There is a feeling this could be a very bad tournament indeed for fans.
2. Public drinking
Alcohol or Public drinking is one of the normal things that are illegal in Qatar. It could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to QAR3,000. Alcohol is available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. Organizers said it would also be available in fan zones at certain times.
Alcohol sales in fan zones may be less expensive than in hotels. It will probably involve exchanging local currency for tokens that can be used to purchase beverages. Bringing alcohol into the country is forbidden.
Only residents can purchase alcohol from specialist outlets for home consumption, so drinking away from official venues will be off-limits for fans.
3. Display of affection in public
One thing prohibited in Qatar is the public display of affection between men and women, even if they are married.
Only holding hands is permitted between partners. Kissing, cuddling, and fondling are prohibited and can result in major legal issues. The organizing committee has asked visitors during the World Cup to limit public displays of affection.
Qatari law prohibits cohabitation of unmarried couples, but authorities have confirmed that unmarried friends of different genders or couples can share the same room without penalty during the tournament.
4. Living together while unmarried
Opposite sex living together while unmarried is prohibited in Qatar. Men and women are not permitted to share a home unless they are legally married or related. This applies to friends, house or flatmates and not just couples. Therefore, The organizing committee has asked visitors during the World Cup to limit public displays of affection.
Although Qatari law prohibits the cohabitation of unmarried couples, authorities have confirmed that unmarried friends of different genders or couples can share the same room without penalty during the tournament. Fans will have to be on their best behavior, given Qatar’s strict laws meaning sex.
Photography is not illegal but is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. Photographs of government buildings, mosques, and military installations are also not allowed. Also, Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appears to insult or slander is considered a crime punishable under Qatari law. With hordes of fans sharing their experiences on social media, enforcing Qatar’s strict rules on privacy and photography could be a challenge.
Broadcasters, such as the BBC and ITV, will effectively be barred from filming at accommodation sites, such as those housing migrant workers, under the terms of filming permits issued by the Qatari government.
The restrictions are within a list of conditions that outlets must agree to when applying for a filming permit from the Qatari authorities to “capture photography and videography of the most popular locations around the country.” They also apply to photographers but do not explicitly refer to print journalists who do not film their interviews.
The world cup organizers called on fans to exercise “common courtesy” and ask permission before photographing or filming others.
5. Physical contact between the opposite sex
In Qatar, men, and women are not allowed to shake hands since Islamic law prevents unmarried individuals from touching one another. As a result, handshakes between people of different sexes are on our list of everyday activities that are forbidden in Qatar.
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health ordered an outright ban on the sales of vapes in 2014. Hamad International Airport’s customs department was also advised not to allow e-cigarettes into the country, with the same instruction observed at Qatar’s port and land borders. Despite this, a large community still uses e-cigarettes without penalty, so there may be some leniency.
Swearing and making rude gestures may not be a normal practice anywhere in the world. But in Qatar, swearing is not condoned at all. They are generally considered obscene, and offenders can be jailed and deported.