Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 20:59 pm (KSA) 17:59 pm (GMT)

French Muslim football team refuses to play gays

The team'sdecision has provoked an outcry in France (File)
The team'sdecision has provoked an outcry in France (File)

An amateur Muslim football team has provoked an outcry in France after refusing to play against a team which promotes homosexual rights and has gay players.

The Creteil Bebel Muslim team pulled out of its planned tie with Paris Foot Gay (PFG) at the weekend, saying it went against their religious beliefs to play against homosexuals.

The PFG said they would sue Creteil Bebel for homophobia.

 As a Muslim, I have the right not to play against homosexuals because I don't share their ideas 
Zahir Belgarbi

"We have been insulted in the past, but this sort of thing has never happened," Pascal Brethes, chairman and co-founder of PFG, told Reuters.

Creteil Bebel defended their pullout, saying their religious convictions were much more important than any sporting event.

"As a Muslim, I have the right not to play against homosexuals because I don't share their ideas," Zahir Belgarbi, one of the team directors, told France Bleu radio.

PFG was set up in 2003 to fight against homophobia, which is rampant in some of the poor suburbs around Paris where it plays.

Brethes said he was shocked by the way Creteil Bebel players had openly revealed their prejudices.

"It is as if they find it normal to be homophobes," he said.

Human rights and anti-discrimination groups leapt to the defense of PFG and city authorities also weighed into the row.

"The city of Paris will be inflexible when faced by attacks on its principles and will continue to fight in a determined fashion against all acts of discrimination," it said in a statement.

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