Al-Azhar supports Egypt's striker Mostafa Mohamed amid anti-homophobia campaign controversy

Ahram Online , Tuesday 23 May 2023

The world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution, located in Egypt, Al-Azhar, showed support for Egyptian striker Mostafa Mohamed after being fined by his French club Nantes for refusing to participate in the league's recent anti-homophobia campaign.

Nantes  Egyptian forward Mostafa Mohamed. AFP
Nantes Egyptian forward Mostafa Mohamed. AFP


All teams in France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 wore shirts featuring rainbow-coloured numbers, while captains' armbands were similarly coloured as part of the initiative.

However, the 25-year-old Muslim player declined to wear the shirt due to his beliefs and conviction and remained in the hotel while his team played against Toulouse in a goalless draw on Sunday.

In a statement issued Monday night via Facebook, Al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism (AOCE) showed solidarity with the Egyptian international’s action, calling for a sportive environment that respects human instinct.

“The sports and other sectors worldwide became threatened by those who call for these immoral ideas and behaviours. Those people used to use football pitches and other platforms to spread their toxic ideas under cover of freedom, diversity and supporting the other who is different, even if this difference conflicts with human instinct and religious values,” the AOCE statement said.

“They call for freedom and respecting difference, but at the same time, they want to force those who reject these ideas to accept them even if they contradict their religious values,” the statement added.

“AOCE asks for providing a sporting environment that respects the human instinct and players’ religious beliefs and also to stop using football pitches to apply these evil goals that threaten humanity with misery and extinction,” the AOCE statement concluded.

FC Nantes did not disclose the fine amount, hinting that Mohamed’s behaviour stood against the team’s interest amid its critical situation in the league table.

Nantes is struggling in Ligue 1 this season, currently placed 17th out of 20 teams on the table with 33 points after 35 games.

Mohamed, who joined Nantes on a season-long loan deal from Turkish side Galatasaray at the beginning of the season, has scored 11 goals in 48 appearances for the French team this season.

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