toys bearing rainbow colours in an ominous sign of intolerance before the 2022 World Cup.A government ministry said earlier this week that it had carried out an ‘inspection campaign’ to clamp down on ‘un-Islamic’ items bearing similar colour schemes used for LGBTQ+ flags.The Commerce and Industry Ministry did not specify why it took the action, but it is unlikely officials are unaware of the connotations, with the World Cup due to be hosted in the oil-rich emirate next year.

Premier League clubs took part in Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign across November and December and Lewis Hamilton used the stripes for his helmet at the Qatar Grand Prix last month.However, the ministry appeared to dash hopes of greater tolerance ahead of the FIFA tournament by posting a statement and images of the toys on its social media channels, saying they ‘go against Islamic values’.Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell told Metro.co.uk: ‘Banning rainbow images is a new low for the tyrant regime in Qatar.

It is an absurd, over-the-top response by a paranoid regime.‘The seized toys were in pretty rainbow colours but none were promoting homosexuality, as government officials claim. ‘This proves that Qatar remains viciously homophobic and that its self-proclaimed new liberal image is a fraud and mere PR spin. ‘In the light of this crackdown, LGBTQ+ footballers and fans will not be safe during the World Cup next November, despite Qatar’s assurances to FIFA. ‘The football authorities should cancel Qatar’s hosting rights and find a new host country that respects FIFA’s values of equality and inclusion.’The clampdown took place in ‘several retail outlets in different regions across Qatar’, according to the ministry.