Human Rights Opinion Sports

In Solidarity with Senegalese International Idrissa Gueye following the homophobia row

Fatoumatta: There will not be freedom in the world until we understand that our differences make us strong together and never yardsticks for dichotomies. Until we respect each other, the peace and unity we seek in the world are mere wishes! Senegalese international footballer Idrissa Gueye’s refusal to wear a PSG jersey designed for LGBTQ+ advocacy, which does not align with his faith, should not have stirred up this loud outrage across the western world.

However, with French clubs’ players encouraged to wear rainbow-colored numbers on the back of their shirts to commemorate World Day Against Homophobia on May 17, the 32-year-old Gueye, a devout Muslim, missed PSG’s match against Montpellier to avoid wearing the shirt. PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino told a media conference that Gueye was excused from the game for “personal reasons.”Being forced to promote a practice that contradicts his belief undermines his right. He is not rebelling here, and he is tolerating. He merely opted out of becoming a salesman of the LGBTQ+ culture, not de-marketing it. The determination with which the West wants to sell this LGBT thing is very worrisome. I cannot see what Gana Gueye did wrong too. The guy asked to be excused from something he does not believe in.

Fatoumatta: This is the hypocrisy of the highest order. We do not just keep talking; we need to act and defend him. It is him today tomorrow they may bring something to our doorstep. Imagine taking him to the European football panel? “That is absurd. Let us speak for him as Africans, not even from an Islamic perspective but from moral justification. How does less than 1% of the world hold 99% to ransom and push their ideas down our throats? I remember when Boateng of Bayern Munich, during the champions league celebration, poured alcohol on Frank Bilal Ribery, which Ribery warned him and even cut all relationships with him, to show him it was against his belief until the management interfered and resolved them, so I see no any problem if a player decided not to promote something that harms humans or goes against his belief, each and everyone one have his freedom.

Just recently, Pogba, during an interview session, dropped down a bottle of alcohol from the table in front of the world media; the essence of doing that is just because he cannot promote something that goes against his belief. This conversation is in the same social media conversation as Christiano Ronaldo’s open refusal to endorse or market coca-cola, preferring to have bottled water on the press table in Euro2020, and there was not as much fuss. Anyway, it has not stopped being a world where might rules. It is the rank hypocrisy of old here again.

Fatoumatta: What confuses me is why his decision alarms a country that’s stood by its decision to ban wearing headscarves and hijab, which are obligatory for women in Gueye’s religion. However, we function in global hypocrisy that applauds the marginalization of these Muslim women by the very characters upset by Gueye’s faith-based decision to choose the ideas to market or pass up. So, what happens when, for instance, a European footballer and devout atheist in a Middle Eastern country is asked to wear a branded jersey that promotes, glamorizes, or legitimizes polygamy—an essential practice there that’s illegal in the athlete’s home country and anywhere in the West but a millennia-old norm in other cultures?

Fatoumatta: I am also fond of telling my friends that I will not pay for their alcohol when we are out, citing my religious belief, and we would laugh it off. Two nights ago, I gave a drinking friend cash when we were going out, afraid he would likely order things I would not pay for, and he laughed. However, it does not make you intolerant of their lifestyle or culture; it is simply a quiet and harmless advertisement of your non-participation. The fact that a Muslim takes a stance against something not congruent with their religious belief should not call for scrutiny of their other transgressions. Saying that a Muslim steals because he refuses to drink alcohol is ridiculous.

No believing Muslim glorifies stealing or any sin at all. I have seen Gueye being called out for things unrelated to this trending non-issue. Gueye is a footballer from Senegal, and before you ask him to go back to his country, take note that he is not drawn to Paris by accident. He is there because the leaders of that country interfered with the development trajectory of his country and exploited their resources, human and material, to have them assimilated to valorize French culture. France is a multicultural country in fatal denial.

Fatoumatta: The West is very worrisome because pushing this LGBTQ thing down people’s throats. For a society that proclaims freedom of expression, forcing people to believe/accept something against their conscience and beliefs is not in line with the freedom they profess. Churches are now being forced to conduct gay marriages, contrary to Christian beliefs. People have been blacklisted, even jailed for expressing their disapproval of such practices.

I find myself wondering seriously, what is the agenda? How has just about one percent of the world population been able to hold the entire world captive? I fear what the future holds for us. Nobody should be surprised by the Western double-standard and sheer hypocrisy anymore. What is currently playing out in the Russia/Ukraine invasion should be an eye-opener for any sensible country or individual when we compare it to the Israeli invasion of Palestine.

The recent murder of an Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces, her shameful burial, and how all western media houses downplayed it clearly shows they do not have any moral justification for accusing any nation of dictatorship and brutality.

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