Research by Stanford University found an 18.9 per cent drop in anti-Muslim hate crimes on Merseyside in the period since Salah signed for Liverpool in June 2017, in a £34m transfer from Roma. No other offence had a comparable drop in the same timeframe, while anti-Muslim tweets by Liverpool fans halved compared to other major Premier League clubs.
The Egyptian has been a revelation for the club, winning the Premier League golden boot in both of his campaigns and playing a leading role in their recent Champions League triumph, scoring the opening goal in the final from the penalty spot. His goal celebration involves performing sujood, the Islamic act of prostration to God.
The study concluded that Salah’s persona as a friendly figure in the team had helped ‘humanise’ the Muslim community.
“The survey experiment suggests that these results may be driven by increased familiarity with Islam,” the report said. “These findings suggest that positive exposure to outgroup celebrities can reveal new and humanising information about the group at large, reducing prejudiced attitudes and behaviours.
“Overall, we interpret these results to support the hypothesis that Salah’s arrival at Liverpool FC caused a decrease in extreme acts of bigotry.”
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