Wednesday, May 2

Mo Salah, Breaking Down Cultural Barriers, One Goal at a Time

"LIVERPOOL, England — Mohamed Salah’s routine is familiar now. As Anfield, the atmospheric home of Liverpool F.C., erupts joyously around him, celebrating yet another of the Egyptian’s goals, he runs to the fans closest to him, arms outstretched. He stands stock still, soaking in the adulation. Once his teammates have congratulated him, he walks slowly back to the center circle. 'Then there is this pause,' said Neil Atkinson, host of The Anfield Wrap, a Liverpool fans’ podcast, and a regular at the stadium. Mr. Salah raises his hands to the sky and then kneels on the field, prostrating himself in a deeply personal demonstration of his Muslim faith. 'The crowd goes a little quieter, allows him that moment of reflection,' Mr. Atkinson said. There is another roar as he stands up, 'and then everyone celebrates again.' ... His faith — and his public displays of it — have also made him a figure of considerable social and cultural significance. At a time when Britain is fighting rising Islamophobia, when government policy has been to create a 'hostile environment' for illegal immigrants, he is a North African and a Muslim who is not just accepted in Britain, but adored. ..."
NY Times (Video)

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