How Mohamed Salah impressed me to turn into a Muslim

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Ben Bird

I’ve gone from hating Islam to turning into a Muslim – and the Liverpool ahead is the principal cause for that

Mohamed Salah was the primary Muslim I might relate to.

Mohamed Salah actually and actually impressed me. I’m a Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder, I might be myself however as a result of I made the declaration of religion I’m a Muslim. I’m nonetheless me and that’s what I took from Mohamed Salah. I’d love to satisfy him, simply to shake his hand and say “Cheers” or “Shukran”.

I don’t suppose my mates fairly imagine that I’m a Muslim as a result of I’ve not likely modified. I simply suppose my coronary heart is healthier. I’m actually making an attempt to vary on match days. Normally it’s pub, put a guess on, then after the sport again to the pub and realise you’ve misplaced some huge cash. It’s arduous if you’re used to such a tradition and it’s a part of soccer for lots of people.

How Ben used to consider Islam?

I’m embarrassed to say this however my opinions on Islam was once that the faith, the tradition and the folks have been backward; that they didn’t combine and wished to take over. I all the time checked out Muslims just like the elephant within the room. I had a hatred of Muslims.

When I used to be in sixth kind it was a interval the place I believe I wanted somebody in charge for my misfortunes. Unfortunately Muslims received the brunt of it and I shortly found right-wing media pages. They form of groomed me by sending me lengthy propaganda items and suchlike.

Even although I had these horrible concepts of Islam, I’d by no means say them to a Muslim. At this level I didn’t know any Muslims. My diploma in Middle Eastern Studies on the University of Leeds modified the whole lot.

The Academic Study of Islam

We needed to do a dissertation and I wished to do one thing a bit completely different. I bear in mind my dyslexia tutor telling me: “What about Mohamed Salah’s song?” I used to be conscious of it and I assumed it was unbelievable however I hadn’t thought of it in these phrases.

I lastly received the query: “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah. Is the performance of Mohamed Salah igniting a conversation that combats Islamapobia within the media and political spheres?”

The Liverpool followers’ music – to the tune of Dodgy’s hit Good Enough – consists of the road “If he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too”, and I actually took that to coronary heart.

I used to be a typical white-boy scholar who went to a distinct metropolis, would get completely hammered and lived the scholar life. My diploma was the primary time I realized about Islam in an educational manner.

University gave me the chance to satisfy lots of college students from Saudi Arabia. I assumed they have been evil individuals who carried swords however they’re the nicest folks I’ve met. The conceptions I had about Arab international locations fully dissolved.

Mohamed Salah was the primary Muslim I might relate to.

It’s the best way he lives his life, how he talks to folks. The different week he posed for an image with a Liverpool fan who suffered a damaged nostril chasing after him. I do know another footballers would do this however you anticipate it now from Salah.

At college I interviewed Egyptian college students and once they came upon my analysis was about “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah” – which can be one other Liverpool music – they’d speak to me for hours about how nice he’s and what he’s accomplished for his or her nation. One million Egyptians spoiled their ballots and voted for him to be president final 12 months.

One of the Egyptians I talked to informed me that Salah encompasses what being a Muslim is, following Islam accurately. He believed that Salah is making folks love Muslims once more.

That actually resonated with me. When Salah scores I believe he’s scoring for the religion. When he gained the Champions League I stated to my good friend that was a victory for Islam. After every of his objectives Salah practises the sujood (prostration) and exposes a really Islamic image to the world. How many individuals watch the Premier League each week? Millions globally.

Salah confirmed me that you may be regular and a Muslim, if that’s the proper phrase. You might be your self. He’s an amazing participant and is revered by the soccer neighborhood and his politics, his faith, don’t matter – and to me that’s what soccer can do.

True Islam shouldn’t be portrayed within the media

When folks learn the Quran, or examine Islam, they see one thing completely different that’s not all the time portrayed within the media. I’m new to the Islamic neighborhood and I’m nonetheless studying. It is tough. It’s a way of life change.

What would I say to the Ben of outdated? I’d give him a smack, to be trustworthy, and I’d say: ‘How dare you think like that about a people that are so diverse. You need to start talking to people. You need to start asking the questions.’ We reside in a multicultural, multifaith, multinational society.

Last season Chelsea followers have been singing “Salah is a bomber”. That’s the primary time on my social media that I had a proper go. I used to be furious as a result of I’m for soccer banter however you already know when issues are simply not true.

Now, I’d say to Muslim children: ‘Don’t be afraid to go to a soccer match.’ I believe that’s a difficulty we’ve got to have a look at from either side. I used to be afraid of being segregated. I don’t need to lose my mates as a result of I take a look at them as brothers to me. Now I’ve received a fifth of the world’s inhabitants as brothers and sisters.

The neighborhood has to department out, play soccer, go to soccer. It’s as much as us to grasp that we’re on this collectively. And the very best spokesman for that could possibly be Mohamed Salah.

Ben Bird was talking to Tusdiq Din

 

Source: The Guardian

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