Football Star Mohamed Aboutrika Calls Homosexuality ‘Nasty’ in Interview
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Football player Mohamed Aboutrika has made headlines by delivering one of the most homophobic rants ever to reach public television. It was broadcast yesterday on the Qatari television network beIN Sports.
Aboutrika called homosexuality a phenomenon and considered that it was against Islam’s nature and also against human nature.
It’s a dangerous ideology and it’s becoming nasty, and people are not ashamed of it anymore,” was one of the things he said.
“They will tell you that homosexuality is ‘human rights’. No, it’s not human rights, it’s in fact against humanity.”
Aboutrika is a 43-year-old retired Egyptian soccer star and former Al Ahly Sporting Club team member who has never shied away from expressing controversial opinions. It seems like his homophobia is another that he’ll be speaking this time around with no regret.
Aboutrika received a lot of international backlash from his public remarks. Most of it was on social media such as Twitter, where users attacked beIN Media and Premier League for not only briefly tolerating his comments but also publicly broadcasting them.
Aboutrika specifically attacked the campaign known as #RainbowLace. This support campaign consisted in Premier League players wearing shoelaces with the colours of a rainbow flag, showing support for the LGBTQ+ movement. In this initiative, all 20 clubs participated, yet Aboutrika showed open support for a boycott and promoted Muslim players to do so too.
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This only makes things even more concerning, given how the movement was designed for football players to support the LGBTQ. The insulting remarks have religious backgrounds serving as their backbone. Aboutrika mentions the Quran, the need to honor the children of Adam, and claims that homosexuality serves as a humiliation to them.
“As a global media group we represent, champion and support people, causes and interests of every single background, language and cultural heritage across 43 hugely diverse countries, as we show every day,” said a beIN Media group spokesperson as a response to the social media backlash.
The impact of Aboutrika’s words is a projection of how these media channels and sports leagues see the LGBTQ+ community. This statement isn’t just Aboutrika speaking, even though he’s the face for that. Just the fact that this was initially condoned raises many eyebrows regarding the inner processes of these football associations regarding inclusion.
Aboutrika has helped battle poverty and malnutrition in Africa, though sadly, he’s also allegedly involved in extremist movements instead of Egypt’s current government. Aboutrika was even living in exile in Qatar’s capital of Doha, as he was banned for supposedly funding the Muslim Brotherhood. Due to his ties to terrorism, he has been unable to return to his home country until 2023.
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The Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian terrorist organization. Not only that but Aboutrika was even added to Egypt’s terrorism list in 2017, even having his assets seized in 2015.
The Premier League spokesperson further elaborated: ‘We wholeheartedly disagree with the pundit’s views. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and making it clear that football is for everyone.’
Regarding his career, Aboutrika has been considered one of the greatest football players hailing from Egypt. He scored over 150 goals and led the Al-Ahly club to five African Champions League triumphs and seven domestic league titles. He also won 100 caps for his country and became a national hero after winning Egypt the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006.
The Premier League didn’t remain silent, though. Aboutrika was sanctioned in private for his homophobic remarks against the #RainbowLace initiative, with a spokesperson for beIN clarifying that these wouldn’t be tolerated.
The implications of these remarks have gone further than just confirming that a homophobic man is homophobic. The Qatari-based broadcaster claimed that the World Cup 2022 would be set in the most inclusive environment ever.
Not only is Aboutrika quite homophobic, but he has also taken issues with the role of women in soccer and made public his disagreement with his female family members playing the sport.
If the upcoming World Cup is going to be inclusive, it seems like football associations all around the world need to take matters into their hands.