Authorities in Qatar, host of next year’s football World Cup, have confiscated a line of children’s toys from stores deeming their rainbow colours “contrary to Islamic values”.
The emirate’s commerce and industry ministry did not spell out its objection to the rainbow colours, but some of the toys bore a colour scheme very similar to the LGBTQ flag.
Despite repeated assertions by authorities that anyone will be welcome to visit for next year’s World Cup, homosexuality remains illegal in the conservative Muslim emirate.
The ministry of commerce and industry “carried out inspection campaigns on several retail outlets in different regions across Qatar”, it said on Twitter.
“The campaigns resulted in the seizure and release of several violations, including the confiscation of children’s toys bearing slogans that go against Islamic values.”
The tweet was accompanied by a pictures of rubber stress balls and other toys in rainbow colours.
“The ministry urges all citizens and residents to report any product bearing logos or designs contrary to our traditions,” it said in a separate statement on the official QNA news agency.
There was no immediate response from Qatari authorities to AFP requests to elaborate on the reasons for the seizures.
Qatar’s rights record has been under the spotlight ever since it was chosen as host of the 2022 World Cup in 2010, with the conditions of the tens of thousands of migrant labourers building the tournament’s infrastructure a particular focus alongside LGBTQ rights.