Liverpool’s Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah’s presence at the football club has been a direct cause of a decrease in Islamophobia and bigotry against Muslims in the British city, a study said.
Anti-Muslim hate crimes fell by 18.9% after Salah started playing for Liverpool in June 2017, research conducted by Stanford University said, adding that anti-Muslim tweets by Liverpool fans fell by 50% compared to other major Premier League clubs.
The study noted that Salah’s friendly character in the team had helped “humanize” the Muslim community.
Additionally, research suggested that positive exposure to outgroup celebrities helps reveal new and humanizing information about a specific group, alleviating prejudices and making people familiar with the outgroup.
After each goal Salah scores, the Egyptian striker drops down into sujood, the Islamic act of prostrating to God, which now became his trademark move.
Amid rising Islamophobia in the United Kingdom, Salah has been something of goodwill ambassador for Muslims in the country.
He even inspired a positive chant in the country, where football fans are famous for their often racist and xenophobic chants.
“If he’s good enough for you/He’s good enough for me/If he scores another few/Then I’ll be Muslim too,” the chant says and ends with the words: “He’s sitting in the mosque/That’s where I want to be.”