UK: Olympic gymnast Louis Smith finds forgiveness at Fazl Mosque after offensive video

UK: Olympic gymnast Louis Smith finds forgiveness at Fazl Mosque after offensive video

“Louis did something wrong but he certainly does not need to be defined by that brief moment in his life. His apology and visit to London’s oldest mosque … today to learn about Islam speak volumes.”

Excerpts

Olympic gymnast Louis Smith missed celebrations for Rio medallists in Trafalgar Square to visit mosques after saying sorry for the fact that he appeared to mock Islam in a video last week.

The four-time medallist said he apologised to people in the Muslim community for the footage that showed him pretending to pray to Allah while laughing.

He said he was “ignorant to people’s religion” and that it was his responsibility, as “someone of sporting influence”, to exercise his opinions in good taste. “We discussed my actions and they showed me what they learn and the true meaning behind their religion of peace.”

Farooq Aftab, national vice-president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, said: “The original video that gave rise to this whole incident has caused offence. However, at the heart of Islam, the holy Koran, and the example of the Prophet Mohammed is the need for Muslims to show continuous compassion and forgiveness.

“Louis did something wrong but he certainly does not need to be defined by that brief moment in his life. His apology and visit to London’s oldest mosque … today to learn about Islam speak volumes.

“As practising Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims will always seek to build bridges; will always seek to be peacemakers. This is the true Islam and we hope that Louis visits many more times.”