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Liverpool star Salah backs Egypt women’s rights campaign

Cairo (AFP) – Liverpool forward 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 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.

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 percent 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 honour.

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