Liverpool soccer star Salah backs Egypt women’s rights campaign

Arabic video teaching men to respect women gains hundreds of thousands of views after the national sporting hero shares it on social media

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) congratulates Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) after Mane scored a goal on November 21, 2017 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Sevilla FC and Liverpool FC. (AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER)
Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) congratulates Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (R) after Mane scored a goal on November 21, 2017 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Sevilla during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Sevilla FC and Liverpool FC. (AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER)

CAIRO, Egypt — Liverpool soccer star Mohamed Salah has thrown his support behind a UN-sponsored campaign to end violence against women in his homeland Egypt where sexual harassment is rampant.

Hundreds of thousands of people viewed an Arab-language animated video teaching men to respect women and their rights after national team icon Salah shared it online.

“Because I’m a man who understands that a man and a woman have the same rights and responsibilities, I decided to support the ‘Because I’m a man’ campaign,” Salah wrote in posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Wednesday.

لأني راجل فاهم إن الراجل والست ليهم نفس الحقوق والواجبات، قررت ادعم حملة "لأني رجل" التابعة للمجلس القومي للمرأة وهيئة الأمم المتحدة للمرأة… شير الفيديو ده علشان تدعم معايا الحملة @UNWomenEgypt @NCWegyptpage

Posted by Mohamed Salah on Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Salah, feted as a hero at home after his late penalty in October sent Egypt to the World Cup for the first time since 1990, is currently the leading scorer in the English Premier League this season.

He is also high up in the running for African footballer of the year awards.

The video, produced as part of a campaign by UN Women Egypt and Egypt’s state-run National Council for Women, showed a man rejecting widespread stereotypes over the role of women in the country’s conservative society.

“Because I’m a chivalrous man, I stood up to violence against women,” a voice says.

The treatment of women is a major problem in Egypt where a UN study in 2013 said that 99.3 percent of them had experienced at least one form of harassment and 82.6% did not feel safe in the streets.

Getting backing by popular figures like Salah is a key way for campaigns to spread their message and UN Women Egypt sent him “special thanks” online for being “one of the first supporters.”

Egypt’s qualification for the World Cup sparked jubilation across the nation and days of press coverage, with Salah’s hometown Basyoun renaming a school in his honor.

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