Former Egyptian football player and current sports commentator Mohamed Aboutrika launched into a two-minute homophobic rant over the weekend during commentary on the beIN sports network.
It all started when another presenter mentioned the UK Premier League’s Rainbow Laces Campaign, an initiative aimed at stamping out homophobia in sports. Aboutrika didn’t hold back in his criticism of the campaign, or in sharing his negative opinions of LGBTQ people.
“This phenomenon is not only against Muslim nature but it’s against human nature,” he said. “Allah says in the Quran that we have to honor the children of Adam but by doing this homosexuality we are not honoring humans, we are humiliating them.”
Aboutrika added that Muslims “have a role to play” in eliminating homosexuality. “They will tell you it’s a human rights but it’s not a human right, in fact it’s against humanity,” he said before urging beIN to ban any mention of queer people or issues on the network.
— Fare (@farenet) November 30, 2021
American news site Deadline further reports that beIN, for its part, has confirmed an accurate translation of Aboutrika’s comments and that the network has privately reprimanded him. BeIN has not, however, condemned the comments in public.
A spokesperson for the network said it will continue to promote the Rainbow Laces campaign, saying “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.”
Aboutrika’s comments come amid ongoing discussion about holding the World Cup in the nation of Qatar next year.
Queer rights advocates have expressed concern over the nation’s hostile attitude toward LGBTQ people. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Qatar. Amnesty International has referred to the 2022 World Cup as “Qatar’s World Cup of Shame.” Openly gay professional footballer Josh Cavallo, meanwhile, has expressed fear at entering the nation.