Kick It Out accused beIN Sports of amplifying homophobia and questioned whether members of the LGBTQ + community should travel to Qatar for the World Cup after a former Egyptian footballer said homosexuality was ” against human nature ”during an expert appearance for the Qatari broadcaster.
Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the station’s best-known pundits, sparked fury after urging Muslim players to boycott the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to support the LGBTQ + community, and said the homosexuality is not “compatible” with Islam. The 43-year-old added that Muslims “have a role to play” in eliminating homosexuality and described it as a “dangerous ideology that becomes nasty”.
Aboutrika’s comments were made live on beIN, which broadcasts Premier League football live in the Middle East and North Africa, less than a year before Qatar hosted the World Cup. The country has been criticized by human rights groups for its treatment of the LGBTQ + community.
Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination football charity, slammed Aboutrika and slammed beIN for allowing hate speech on its network.
“Kick It Out condemns the incredibly homophobic comments by Mohamed Aboutrika, and our support and solidarity goes out to all members of the LGBTQ + community who have been affected by them,” Chris Paouros, a director of Kick It Out, told the Guardian.
“We are extremely disappointed and very concerned that beIN Sports has decided it is appropriate to broadcast such hate speech in its entirety on their network, and urge them to apologize to the LGBTQ + community for having it. made. As a Qatari broadcaster, beIN’s drive to amplify homophobia in this way puts more emphasis on the safety of fans and LGBTQ + players who can travel to Qatar for the World Cup, not to mention the freedoms of people. Qataris LGBTQ +.
“These are the goals of the newly formed Qatar 2022 Kick It Out Task Force, which, alongside Stonewall, Football V Homophobia and Inside Inclusion, hope to foster inclusion and fan safety at next year’s tournament.” , as well as creating a lasting impact for the rights of LGBTQ + people in Qatar, and on the decision-making process for future tournaments.
Fare, an anti-discrimination football network, asked why Aboutrika’s comments were not challenged during the program. “It’s so disappointing to see Egyptian legend Mohamed Aboutrika rejecting the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign and using theological positions to do it,” the organization tweeted. “No challenge from beIN Sports. He was given space to deny rights and the existence of a community.
It is understood that beIn has reprimanded and sanctioned Abourtika for expressing opinions which he considers contrary to his point of view but does not intend to fire him. The broadcaster aired the Rainbow Laces campaign in the Arab world last weekend and will continue to do so in all of its markets. A spokesperson said: “As a global media group, we represent, defend and support people, causes and interests of all origins, languages and cultural heritages in 43 extremely diverse countries, as we show every day. . “
The Rainbow Laces campaign is designed to promote “equality and diversity” by “showing support for all LGBT + people in football and beyond,” according to the league’s website. Players support the initiative by wearing rainbow-colored laces.
The Premier League has contacted beIN about Aboutrika’s comments. A league spokesperson said: “We strongly disagree with the expert’s point of view. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBTQ + inclusion and making it clear that football is for everyone. “
Qatar 2022 chief executive said on Tuesday that members of the LGBTQ + community would be welcome at the World Cup. “Everyone is welcome,” Nasser al-Khater told CNN. “Look, public displays of affection are frowned upon, and it goes on every level – on every level. Qatar is a modest country. That’s all you have to respect. Other than that, everyone is free to live their life.