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'Tone-deaf' foreign secretary criticised for telling LGBT fans to 'respect' Qatar

Foreign secretary James Cleverly has been accused of being "shockingly tone-deaf" after urging LGBT fans to be "respectful" of Qatar's ban on homosexuality.

Cleverly was asked about on the country's human rights and LGBT rights record on Wednesday, before the start of the tournament on November 20.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, and human rights abuses "persist on a significant scale" in the country, according to a pre-tournament report published by Amnesty International last week.

Speaking to Sky News, the foreign secretary said: "We have incredibly important partners in the Middle East. These are Muslim countries, they have a very different cultural starting point [from] us.

"I think it's important, when you're a visitor to a country, that you respect the culture of your host nation."

He added: "We do talk to them about our values and why we believe it's important that people's rights from all kinds of communities are respected.

And of course it will be something that we continue to talk to them about."

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