Aboutrika’s comments on gays between backlash in the West and support in the East

The former footballer’s comment that homosexuality is against humanity has sparked backlash in the West and solidarity in the East.

Mohamed Aboutrika, the former Al-Ahly and Egyptian national team player and football analyst on the “BeIN Sports” channel, has sparked a state of controversy after criticizing the support of homosexuality.

Aboutrika criticized the English Premier League for supporting gays in rounds 13 and 14 of the football competition, and making team leaders wear a rainbow-colored badge, which has caused a controversy that is still ongoing.

The former Egyptian footballer has drawn both backlash and support after his remarks on gays support campaign focused on the English Premier League. Trika’s comments came during a live broadcast on Arab sports channel beIN Sports.

Aboutrika, one of the sports station’s best-known pundits, criticized the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign – where Premier League players wear rainbow-colored shoelaces in support of the LGBT+ community.

Abou Trika, 43, referred to homosexuality as a “phenomenon… [that goes] not only against Islam’s nature but against human nature” on the Doha-based channel. He also called Muslim players to boycott the Premier League’s campaign.

“We need to educate young kids…such a phenomenon [homosexuality] doesn’t fit our faith and religion… people should pay attention and be careful, sports enters every home now,” the ex-footballer said.

However, this aroused a campaign against Abou Trika’s comments, notably from prominent Western media platforms, like CNN and others. For example, CNN published a report, titled “Ex-footballer Mohamed Aboutrika calls homosexuality a ‘dangerous ideology’ against the backdrop of the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign.

Bloomberg published an article about Trika’s comments, titled: “Soccer Star Calls for Boycott of Premier League LGBT Effort”

The Athletic website published a report titled: “Pundit on overseas Premier League broadcaster under fire for saying homosexuality ‘is against human nature’”.

Also, amid the campaign against Abou Trika’s comments, some accused Abou Trika of using beIN to amplify homophobia.

Kiran Raichura criticized BeIn for allowing Trika to express his opinion on sports TV:

Fare said it is disappointing to see Egyptian legend Mohamed Aboutrika dismissing the premierleague RainbowLace campaign. The tweeter user criticized BeIn of giving Abou Trika space to express his opinion on homosexuality:

However, many social media users defended the pundit using the Arabic hashtag #we_support_abotreka. Hossam, a Twitter user, said: All the support . We love you, Mohamed Mohamed Aboutrika.

It is noteworthy that polls in the Middle East have consistently showed overwhelming opposition to gay rights across the region, though in varying degrees depending on which country the polls are held.

Many fans, mostly from the Middle East, wondered why his “freedom of opinion” is being opposed.

Also, many fans stated that Aboutrika’s comments were a true reflection of his society and their religious beliefs.

Mohamed Ibrahim tweeted, addressing Abou Trika: You are not alone. We have all the rights to protect our religion and express its teachings.

Ahmed Sobhy said it is not freedom to force people to accept an opinion opposing their beliefs, principles and religion, considering it a racist approach.

Turki Al-Shammary tweeted supporting Abou Trika and calling for stopping the spread of gays.

However, BeIN responded, stressing its support for people of different backgrounds.

“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 spokesperson in response to the criticism, according to The Guardian.

Nasser Al-Khater, the chief executive of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s organizing committee, also emphasized on Tuesday that members of the LGBTQ+ community will be welcome at next year’s tournament.

“Everyone is welcome… public display of affection is frowned upon, and that goes across the board… Qatar is a modest country… Other than that, everyone is free to live their life,” Al-Khater told CNN.