A short parody of an Islamic prayer session, complete with ‘magic carpet’, landed Louis Smith in hot water after it was circulated online.
According to this report, the gymnast – who won a silver medal for Great Britain on the pommel horse in Rio – was videoed with fellow gymnast Luke Carson shouting “Allahu Akbar” and mimicking a praying pose.
He could now face disciplinary action after British Gymnastics said it would investigate footage published by The Sun.
Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadan Foundation, told The Sun:
We would have expected a lot better from an Olympian, who travels around the world and meets different cultures and communities and behaves in this abhorrent sort of way.
It’s outrageous somebody can mock any faith … I think he should apologise immediately and really reach out to the Muslim community and learn more about our faith. Our faith is not to be mocked, our faith is to be celebrated and I think people will be offended by this.
It does not condone the mocking of any faith or religion and is appalled by such behaviour. Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and we are proud of members who portray the inclusive values of British Gymnastics.
Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation. We will be investigating the behaviours reported.
Smith apologised for the incident, which took place at a friend’s wedding. “I am deeply sorry,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.
I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong. I want to say sorry for the deep offence I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions.
I recognised the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times. I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn