How Mohamed Salah impressed me to turn into a Muslim

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Ben Bird

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

Mohamed Salah was the primary Muslim I might relate to.

Mohamed Salah actually and truthfully impressed me. I’m a Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder, I may 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 consider that I’m a Muslim as a result of I’ve not likely modified. I simply suppose my coronary heart is best. I’m actually making an attempt to alter on match days. Normally it’s pub, put a wager 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 that the faith, the tradition and the folks had been backward; that they didn’t combine and needed to take over. I at all times checked out Muslims just like the elephant within the room. I had a hatred of Muslims.

When I used to be in sixth type it was a interval the place I believe I wanted somebody responsible for my misfortunes. Unfortunately Muslims obtained the brunt of it and I rapidly 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 every thing.

The Academic Study of Islam

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

I lastly obtained 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’ track – to the tune of Dodgy’s hit Good Enough – contains 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 unique metropolis, would get completely hammered and lived the scholar life. My diploma was the primary time I discovered about Islam in an instructional means.

University gave me the chance to satisfy plenty of college students from Saudi Arabia. I believed they had been evil individuals who carried swords however they’re the nicest folks I’ve met. The conceptions I had about Arab nations 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 try this however you count on it now from Salah.

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

One of the Egyptians I talked to instructed me that Salah encompasses what being a Muslim is, following Islam appropriately. 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 mentioned to my buddy that was a victory for Islam. After every of his targets 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 could be regular and a Muslim, if that’s the appropriate phrase. You may be your self. He’s an excellent 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 will not be portrayed within the media

When folks learn the Quran, or examine Islam, they see one thing totally different that’s not at all times portrayed within the media. I’m new to the Islamic neighborhood and I’m nonetheless studying. It is difficult. It’s a life-style change.

What would I say to the Ben of outdated? I’d give him a smack, to be sincere, 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 dwell in a multicultural, multifaith, multinational society.

Last season Chelsea followers had 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 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 to take a look at from either side. I used to be afraid of being segregated. I don’t wish to lose my mates as a result of I have a look at them as brothers to me. Now I’ve obtained 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 might be Mohamed Salah.

Ben Bird was talking to Tusdiq Din

 

Source: The Guardian

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