One of the strange phenomena of our time is the co-opting of sports organizations into the service of leftism. I can’t explain it, but here is another case: the French Football [Soccer] Federation organized a pro-LGBTQ+ demonstration by players who were told to wear “rainbow” jerseys. Most went along, but one–a Senegalese Muslim named Idrissa Gueye–apparently didn’t participate. Natalie Solent at Samizdata has the story; links omitted:
Idrissa Gueye is a Senegalese footballer who plays for his country and for the French side Paris Saint-Germain.
On Sunday 15th May, Paris Saint-Germain played Montpellier. On that day, players in the French Ligue 1 were meant to wear football jerseys with the numbers in LGBT rainbow colours in order to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Unexpectedly, Mr Gueye did not play in that match. So far as I can find out with my limited ability to search news reports in French, he has not said why he sat out the match, but it is widely believed that it was because he felt that it would be incompatible with his religious beliefs to wear a shirt in Pride colours. He is a practising Muslim.
This is the really sinister–one might say Stalinist–part:
Via Paul Embery, I found this quotation from a letter that the FFF (Fédération Française de Football / French Football Federation) sent to Mr Gueye on May 17th:
There are two possibilities, either these allegations are unfounded and we invite you to speak out without delay to silence these rumours. For example, we invite you to accompany your message by a photo of yourself wearing said shirt.
Or the rumours are true. In this case we invite you to realise the impact of your act, and the grave error committed. The fight against discrimination towards different minorities, whoever they might be, is a vital fight for all times. Whether it’s skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or any other difference, all discrimination is based on the same principle which is rejection of the other because they are different from the majority.
By refusing to take part in this collective operation, you are effectively validating discriminatory behaviour, and rejection of the other, and not just against the LGBTQI+ community. The impact of football on society and the capacity for footballers to be a role model for those who admire them gives us all a particular responsibility.
For the Left, it is not enough that fellow leftists show solidarity in the cause du jour. All must be forced to participate. No one can sit on the sidelines. Why? Because holdouts might stimulate questions from those who wonder whether the Left’s causes are really righteous. That can’t be permitted. Unanimity is required.
Ms. Solent writes:
One does not have to share Mr Gueye’s religious beliefs, or his (probable) opinions on LGBT issues, to see something sinister in this demand that he make a display of loyalty to prove his “innocence” of a charge that he did not participate in what is effectively the visual equivalent of compelled speech.
It certainly is compelled speech, which would be unconstitutional in the U.S. if enforced by government. But the reality is that compelled speech is common in leftist precincts like our universities, government agencies, and, increasingly, big business. It is not enough to sit out leftist campaigns: all must participate, or else. This is a serious threat to freedom of conscience in the U.S. and many Western countries, not only for Muslims but for the majority who, in various ways, don’t subscribe to the Left’s catechism. We can only fight back at the ballot box.