Qatar’s BeIN Sports accused of stoking homophobia after pundit’s outburst | World Cup 2022

Kick It Out accused beIN Sports of exaggerating homophobia and questioned whether members of the LGBTQ+ community should travel to Qatar for the World Cup after a former Egyptian football player said homosexuality was “against human nature” during a journalist appearance for the Qatari broadcaster.

One of the station’s most famous critics, Mohamed Aboutrika, sparked outrage after urging Muslim players to boycott the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which is designed to support the LGBTQ+ community, and said homosexuality is not “incompatible” with Islam. The 43-year-old added that Muslims “have a role to play” in eradicating homosexuality, describing it as a “dangerous ideology that has gone bad”.

Aboutrika’s comments were published live on beIN, which broadcasts Premier League matches in the Middle East and North Africa, less than a year before Qatar is due to host the World Cup. The country has been criticized by human rights groups for its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

Anti-discrimination football charity Kick It Out has criticized Abu Trika and beIN for allowing hate speech on its network.

“Kick It Out condemns the incredibly homophobic comments of Mohamed Aboutrika, and our support and solidarity goes to any members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been affected by them,” Chris Bowrus, a trustee of Kick It Out, told the Guardian.

“We are extremely disappointed and deeply concerned that beIN Sports has determined that it is appropriate to broadcast this hate speech entirely on their network, and urge them to issue an apology to the LGBTQ+ community for doing so. As a Qatari broadcaster, beIN’s willingness to amplify homophobia in this way places more emphasis on the safety of LGBTQ+ fans and players who may travel to Qatar for the World Cup, not to mention the freedoms of LGBTQ+ Qataris.

These are the focus points of the newly formed Qatar 2022 Team Kick It Out, which along with the likes of Stonewall, Football V Homophobia and Inside Inclusion hope to promote inclusion and security for fans at next year’s tournament, as well as create a lasting impact for fans. LGBT rights in Qatar, and about the decision-making process for future tournaments.”

Fare, an anti-discrimination football network, questioned why Aboutrika’s comments were not challenged during the programme. “Disappointing to see Egyptian legend Mohamed Aboutrika reject the Premier League’s rainbow campaign and use religious attitudes to do so,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “There is no challenge from beIN Sports. It has been given space to deny rights and the existence of a community.”

It is understood that beIn has reprimanded and sanctioned Abu Rteeqa for expressing opinions that he feels contradict hers but have no plans to fire him. The broadcaster showcased the Rainbow Laces campaign across the Arab world last weekend and will continue to do so in all of its markets. A company spokesperson said: “As a global media group, we represent, support and support people, causes and interests from every background, language and cultural heritage across 43 highly diverse countries, as we showcase them 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 lead by wearing rainbow colored laces.

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The Premier League has contacted beIN regarding Aboutrika’s comments. A spokesperson for the League said: “We honestly disagree with the views of the critics. The Premier League and its clubs are committed to supporting LGBT+ inclusion and making it clear that football is for everyone.”

The CEO of Qatar 2022 said on Tuesday that members of the LGBTQ+ community would be welcome at the World Cup. “Everyone is welcome,” Nasser al-Khater told CNN. “Listen, public display of emotion is frowned upon, and this is all-encompassing — across the board. Qatar is a humble country. That’s all to be respected. Other than that, everyone is free to live their lives.”

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