Footballer Mido defends Islam after racist chants

Egyptian striker says Muslims are ashamed of terrorism


The English Premier League's Egyptian striker Ahmed Houssam, better known as Mido, has spoken out against racism in football in a new documentary movie called "Islamophobia."

In the movie, which was produced by the 'Show Racism the Red Card' charity, Mido criticized racism that frequently prevails in English stadiums and defended Islam, stressing that terrorism completely contradicts the religion of peace.

The documentary was screened at Newcastle United's St James Park stadium, where last season the Middlesborough striker was subject to racism as fans began chanting "Mido's got a bomb" after he scored the first goal.

The film discussed the racism Muslims have been exposed to in England, after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and the July 7 underground bombing in London, Saudi paper Al Watan reported.

“As Muslims we are ashamed of that. The religion never said to kill innocent people," Mido says in the video.

“There is no reason at all to hear this abuse in our life or in football. I was very frustrated by it and very happy that I scored – very frustrating to see it in the English game because as players we are all well together," Mido said of the chants against him.

Mido, 25, also said that the players never have any problems in the dressing room and it should be the same for fans as well.

Middlesborough Manager, Gareth Southgate, said he was disappointed Mido was verbally attacked during his first match with the team.

“You shouldn’t judge people because of their religion. It’s whether they are good or bad people," Southgate said, adding "We’ve got two or three Muslim players (including Egyptian player Mohamed Shawqi) with us now and it’s not something that is even mentioned within our dressing room or club."

Among many European clubs racism is an ongoing problem and the Football Association has regularly slapped fines and bans on teams whose fans or players incite racism.

Four years ago England stars Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Jermain Defoe and Jermaine Jenas were verbally abused at a match in Madrid an incident that cost the Spanish Federation $85, 000 (65, 000 euros) in fines.

Barcelona's Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o is regularly taunted by Spanish fans who have made monkey sounds as he comes on the pitch.

The 'Show Racism the Red Card' project coordinator, Ged Grebby, said racism was now more complex than a ‘black or white’ issue as more frequently players from various ethnic backgrounds and religions are taunted by troublesome fans.

(Translated from Arabic by Abeer Tayel.)