Muslim star Salah draws backlash with Christmas message
Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has triggered an angry reaction from some sections of social media after the Muslim star shared a Christmas Day message from his family.
Salah, who is one of the biggest Muslim sports personalities on the planet, posted a festive image to his millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter showing himself and his family sitting in front of a Christmas tree and dressed in matching outfits.
“Merry Christmas” read the message from the 29-year-old footballer.
Salah’s post racked up well over 2 million ‘likes’ within hours of being posted on Instagram and garnered more than 200,000 on Twitter.
But amidst the love for Salah and his family there were some who took issue with the forward supposedly celebrating Christmas.
Salah was bombarded with responses in Arabic, including many which saw the message as contradictory to the star’s Muslim principles and an affront to their religion.
“You prostrate to the one on Sunday if you score a goal and celebrate the one on Sunday that has a son,” read one reply, referencing the differences between Islamic and Christian beliefs and noting Salah’s celebration when he performs the ‘sujud’ act of prayer on the pitch after scoring.
“You are a great player, a good human being, and God has blessed you with money, fame, and the love of people, but know that he who has provided you with all of this is capable of taking it from you in the blink of an eye,” began another response in Arabic which earned around 7,000 ‘likes’.
“Know that you celebrate a day in which they claim that God gives birth to the likes of us… do not be the seat and imprint of their actions, respect the one who provided you with sustenance and gave you your dreams and purified him from the accusations of the people.”
The backlash could have been predicted after a similar situation played out following a Christmas message from Salah last year.
Some fans couldn’t understand why Salah was being targeted with hate.
“I absolutely love this. Mo Salah is a great example of someone who creates bridges while not caring about the noise. The world needs more Mo Salahs,” read one popular reply in support of the forward.
I absolutely love this. Mo Salah is a great example of someone who creates bridges while not caring about the noise. The world needs more Mo Salahs. ❤️— Moby (@Mobyhaque1) December 25, 2021
I dont understand why people are mad about this pic I am a muslim, i love my religion , love mosalah and i love xmas trees … are you guys mad because of a symbol ? Its a just a tree with some fancy lightnings 😍 come on chill everyone a tree wont change anyone’s belief 😁— Omardmq (@Omardmq) December 25, 2021
A lot of Christians congratulate Muslims during their holidays so why the backlash cos Mo Salah celebrates Christmas?This criticism is unnecessary, there's nothing wrong in celebrating other religions. Besides a lot of non-Christians also celebrate Xmas; It's a season of love.— Daniel Regha (@DanielRegha) December 25, 2021
The row seems unlikely to distract Salah on the pitch, where he has been in sensational form this season.
'The Egyptian King' has found the net 22 times in 24 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool as well as providing nine assists.
Salah and Liverpool saw their Boxing Day match with Leeds postponed due to Covid-19, but the forward will hope to continue his red-hot form against Leicester City on December 28, before a blockbuster Premier League clash with his former club Chelsea on January 2.
However, the Reds will lose Salah and key strike partner Sadio Mane when the pair depart for the Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from January 9 to February 6.
Salah will likely be integral to Egypt's chances of success in the continental showpiece.