The Ethio-Swedish athlete who refused to participate in the rainbow protest last month in Moscow, finally said she respects all people as equal.

The Ethiopia-born Swedish athlete Abeba Aregawi who refused to participate in the rainbow protest because of her religious beliefs at the World Championships last month in Moscow, now said she respects all people as equal.

Swedish distance runner Abeba Aregawi has spoken of her disappointment that remarks she made about homosexuality overshadowed her 1,500m gold medal performance in Moscow in August.

The Ethiopia-born athlete refused to participate in the rainbow protest because of her religious beliefs at the World Championships last month. However, she has now said that she feels nobody really celebrated her gold because of what she said at a press conference.

Twenty-three-year-old Aregawi was born in Ethiopia but has been a citizen of Sweden since last year. She won gold in the women’s 1,500m event in Moscow, but the actions of sprinter Moa Hjelmer and high jumper Emma Green Tregaro, both of whom painted their fingernails in the rainbow colours to support gay rights, gained more headlines.

Aregawi declined the chance to show solidarity with her teammates because her faith doesn’t allow homosexuality. She later said using an interpreter that the religion she practices doesn’t permit men being with men and women being with women.

However, she has now spoken out once more and blamed the Swedish athletics association management for causing the controversy. She explained that she wasn’t prepared for such a question at the press conference and she is disappointed she didn’t get any help.

Following her initial comments some people had dubbed her a homophobe, but she has said she respects all people as equal.

Aregawi’s World Championships gold was Sweden’s first in six years.

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About Mercy

Mercy is a public health and humanitarian practitioner, strategist and community educator and mobilizer, blogger, HIV/AIDS and Social Justice/Human Rights Activist who is courageously advocating for the Dignity, Health Equity and non-discrimination of all Marginalized and Vulnerable Social Groups by fighting the prevalent HIV, the widespread Homophobia and other forms of socio-economic exclusions/injustice in Ethiopia. He is also the co-founder and director of the pioneer; Rainbow-Ethiopia Health and Human Rights Initiative, the one and only LGBTI Health and Human rights organization in Ethiopia Please feel free to Contact him at: rainbow-ethiopia@mail.com Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Posted on September 26, 2013, in Ethiopian LGBTI Community, World LGBTI News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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