Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-bachar-houli:-footy-legend ignites-controversy-over-pro-palestine-video-as-richmond-afl-bosses-begs-him-to-take-it-downAlert – Bachar Houli: Footy legend ignites controversy over pro-Palestine video as Richmond AFL bosses begs him to take it down

An AFL legend was convinced to take down a pro-Palestine post on social media after club bosses and a prominent Jewish fan intervened. 

Bachar Houli, the three-time premiership player with Richmond, shared a short film last Friday which splices clips of news footage from the bloody conflict with a voiceover. 

The video, which was originally been shared by rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams, accuses the media of spreading disinformation and encouraging people to side with Israel. 

It also suggests there is a conspiracy to silence voices of people who support Palestine. 

Bachar Houli (pictured), the three-time premiership player with Richmond, shared a short film last Friday which splices clips of news footage from the bloody conflict with a voiceover

The AFL great eventually deleted the video after being contacted by league bosses and a prominent Jewish fan 

‘A genocide is occurring in Palestine,’ the video states at the end.

‘And it’s been happening for years, not just now. Don’t let biased media push you to support the oppressor. FREE PALESTINE.’ 

Houli, 35, was contacted by Richmond CEO Brendon Gale who asked him to take it down but he refused.

Hale then escalated the matter to the AFL, fearing it might incite unrest among the community, reported the Daily Telegraph. 

AFL commissioner Paul Bassat reportedly rang Houli. 

He also spoke with Richmond fan and prominent Jewish community member Paul Naphtali.

He replaced the video with a statement condemning the killing of innocent lives – but some still criticised him 

Houli, who retired in 2021, was the first devout Muslim to play in the AFL (pictured with Dan Andres)

Mr Naphtali said he was a Richmond fan who supported the Jolson Houli Unity Cup – played by the state’s best Jewish and Muslim footballers – and viewed Houli ‘as an ambassador for peace’.

‘I was alerted to the video he posted because it was inconsistent with that objective (of peace),’ he told the paper. 

‘To Bachar’s credit, when I messaged him he called me, he listened and he engaged about the contents of the video.

‘I would describe the post as misinformed and dangerous. Bachar has a big platform, lots and lots of supporters, but we all make mistakes.’

Mr Naphtali praised Houli’s willingness to engage in the other side of the argument.

‘It is an example of why engagement and dialogue is so important,’ he said.

Houli deleted the video on Sunday and replaced it with a statement.

Israeli air strikes bombarding Gaza on October 25, 2023

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, as the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 26, 2023

A Palestinian man carries a child casualty at the site of Israeli strikes on houses

‘As many would know I am a man of faith and peace, and have always tried to live my life through the Islamic values of Respect, Peace and Love which has been taught through our beloved prophet Muhammad (PBUH),’ it reads.

‘I will always advocate for inclusion and bringing people together. The last couple of weeks have taken a heavy toll on us all and I want to remind people that I do NOT condone killings of ANY INNOCENT people regardless of their faith or culture.

‘I remind my fellow Australians that any racism, discrimination or acts of violence to innocent people is totally unacceptable.

‘I have many friends from different faiths who are against this war and I stand in solidarity with them and pray for peace and justice for all those oppressed around the world. I pray for peace, love and humanity. Ameen.’

 However, many criticised his former position.

‘Your previous message suggests the exact opposite,’ wrote one. 

Houli with his wife Rouba Abou-Zeid adn their two children 

‘You have promoted hate, terror and lies. You do not want peace and safety for Jews and Israel. 

‘Although that sentiment is disgusting, at least be honest rather than talking in riddles.’

Sonny Bill Williams still has the post up on his Instagram. 

The former cross-code sensation, who is providing pitchside commentary for Stan Sport for the Rugby World Cup in France, has shared many posts on social media criticising Israel. 

Houli, who retired in 2021, was the first devout Muslim to play in the AFL. 

He founded the Bachar Houli Foundation in 2012 to deliver education and sport programs for young Muslims boys and girls.

Next year, he plans to open the Islamic College of Sport in Melbourne to offer young Muslim students the opportunity to compete at a high level.

Houli is pictured with Waleed Aly who wrote an introduction to his autobiography 

READ MORE: Father of boy who flew Israeli flag at Kangaroos game to support Jewish star Harry Sheezel blasts ‘woke’ AFL for saying the symbol should have been CONFISCATED

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