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Widely shared video of person being brutally attacked took place in Morocco, and not in Qatar during the football World Cup

IN SHORT: A video widely shared on social media shows a person being chased and attacked by a group of men. But this took place in Morocco and not in Qatar, as some posts claim.

Warning: This report includes links to violent images which may be upsetting to readers. 

Ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup tournament, hosted in Qatar in the Middle East, a video of a person being brutally attacked started circulating on social media with various claims. These included that it showed either a gay man or a transgender woman and that the attack took place in Qatar. 

One such video clip was shared in a tweet written in Kiswahili that read: “Qatar wamesema hawataki mashoga kwao ni viboko viboko mbaya mbovu.’

This roughly translates to: “Qatar have said they don’t want homosexuals in their country, they are disciplining them badly.’’ 

This clip was shared on 24 November 2022, and it shows a person who looks female, wearing a short dress and covering their head, being chased down and attacked by a group of what look like men and younger boys.

As the person tries to flee, one of the attackers kicks them and they fall, and is further kicked and hit before another man steps in to dissuade the attackers. The attacked person’s head covering falls off, showing short hair and what look like typically male facial features.

The Twitter account that shared this video has more than 20,000 followers. This particular tweet has been viewed over 85,900 times, retweeted over 500 times, and received over 1,700 likes.

But what does this video clip of a person being attacked show and is it from Qatar? We checked. 


World Cup led to criticism of gay rights in Qatar

Qatar is a small country on the Persian Gulf coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It hosted the month-long Fifa World Cup of men’s football in November and December 2022.

But the country’s hosting of football’s most prestigious tournament was under a microscope. It has, among other issues, been criticised for its criminalisation of homosexuality.    

In November 2022 Africa Check debunked another claim that a plane carrying the German national football team was not allowed to land in Qatar because of the team's support for LGBTQI+ rights.

Is ‘gay’ the same as ‘trans’?

Being homosexual or gay – having a sexual preference for people of the same sex as you – is not the same as being transgender. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation – like being heterosexual or straight, or attracted to men if you are a woman, or women if you are a man – and transgender is a gender identity. 

Transgender men and women believe they were misassigned their gender at birth but have transitioned to living as men or women, and consider themselves male or female. They may or may not be attracted to people of the same sex. 

However, both homosexuality and transgender fall under the broader category of LGBTQI+, encompassing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people.

Attack in Tangier, Morocco, not Qatar

The video clip does show what appears to be a homophobic attack, but it did not originate from Qatar.

In the background of the video a hotel named can be seen. According to the hotel’s website, Barcelo does not have a presence in Qatar, but does in Morocco, another majority-Muslim and Arab country.

We did a Google reverse image search and found an image of a similar hotel in Morocco.

While the tweet implies that the attack happened in Qatar, the English translation of the Arabic caption within the video can be loosely translated as: “A homosexual person in Tangier hit a kid and was beaten by a stick.’’

Tangier is a city in northern Morocco. 

According to a Morocco World News article published on 13 November 2022, which linked to the same video, the attackers were calling the victim homosexual because of how they were dressed, and they were shouting: “He is gay, and this is what he deserves.”

A Google search led us to other news articles about the arrest of the attackers, here and here, after the video went viral.

The claim that the video shows an attack on a gay or transgender person filmed in Qatar ahead or during the football World Cup is false.

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