Mohamed Aboutrika, considered one of Egypt’s greatest soccer players and now a commentator for beIN Sports, went on a homophobic rant this weekend, calling LGBTQ rights a “dangerous ideology that is becoming nasty.”
Aboutrika was discussing the English Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which promotes LGBTQ acceptance in soccer with players wearing rainbow-colored laces and armbands to symbolize pride.
Among those supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign is Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who is Egyptian and a Muslim. BeIN Sports broadcasts Premier League games in the Middle East and has an English-language version that airs in the U.S. on cable and satellite systems.
“This phenomenon is not only against Muslim nature but it’s against human nature,” Aboutrika said in his on-air comments. “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.”
“We wholeheartedly disagree with the pundit’s views. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and making clear football is for everyone,” a Premier League spokesperson told ESPN.
It is unclear if Aboutrika will be disciplined for his comments, though all reports say he won’t be fired, which is not a surprise given the awful atmosphere for most LGBTQ people in the Middle East. For example, next year’s World Cup will be held in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Here are some images from the Rainbow Laces campaign that so upsets Aboutrika: