1. ITV Report

Apologetic Louis Smith reveals he's been sent death threats for 'mocking Islam'

Peterborough gymnast Louis Smith has told ITV News Anglia he has received death threats on a regular basis after a video was leaked of him appearing to mock Islam.

The footage appeared to show Smith and fellow gymnast Luke Carson pretending to pray and shouting "Allahu Akbar".

Smith has since apoligised for his actions, although he could still face disciplinary action by British Gymnastics following an investigation.

Since the incident, the 27-year-old has been invited down to his local mosque in Peterborough in a bid to further his understanding of the religion.

  • Smith on rebuilding his reputation
Smith won silver at the Rio Olympics. Credit: PA

"My message is that my actions were silly, they were stupid, and I'm ashamed of what people now think of me," he said.

"It's not a true representation of who I am or what I believe in. My main goal now is to try and restore a bit of trust which has obviously been lost since my actions have been brought to light."

  • Smith on the reaction to the incident
Smith has been sent numerous death threats since the incident. Credit: PA

"I don't know much about religion, but I know that it's very close to certain people's hearts," Smith said.

"Given what's happening around the world, it's a very sensitive topic and I was expecting a full range of comments and that's what I've been trying to deal with.

"It has been tough. I have received some support and I've received angry comments where people have since apologised and accepted my apology, and I've also received comments from people that have condemned me to death."

  • Smith on the offer of visiting a local mosque
Smith has been invited to visit his local mosque. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I've had a few requests to visit a few different mosques, including back home in Peterborough," he said.

"I reached out quite recently and I've been talking to people about a children's charity in Peterborough called 'Children of Adam' so I'm looking to get involved in the community.

"It's not to try and grovel my way back in, it's to show people that I am a nice person. I do a lot of charity work and I do have a good set of morals.

"I don't have a problem with people choosing to believe in a faith."

  • Louis Smith on religion
Smith accepts he needs to learn more about all religions. Credit: PA

"I'm quite ignorant to all religion. I've never really been brought up around it," Smith said.

"At the time, when I made that video I wasn't aware of the offence I was causing.

"When I go to these mosques, I'll be very open-minded and I'm going to listen to what they've got to say.

"I'm going to accept what Islam has to offer and just try and be on the same page as them. Up to now I haven't been."

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