A new study by Stanford University has found that instances of Islamophobia in the city of Liverpool have dropped by 18.9% since Egyptian star Mohammed Salah joined the Anfield giants in 2017.
Salah is undoubtedly one of the most popular players in Jurgen Kloop’s squad, with the Egyptian King cementing his status as a global icon following his £34 million arrival from AS Roma.
Ala’ Alrababa’h, William Marble, Salma Mousa and Alexandra Siegel based their study on “936 county-month hate crime observations, 15 million tweets from UK soccer fans and an original survey experiment of 8,060 Liverpool FC fans.”
They found that the city of Liverpool experienced an 18.9 percent drop in hate crimes since Salah’s signing, along with a 51.4 percent decrease in anti-Muslim tweets from Reds fans.
It is suggested that “these results may be driven by increased familiarity with Islam,” which certainly posits the No. 11 as an overwhelmingly positive role model.
“Positive exposure to outgroup celebrities can reveal new and humanising information about the group at large, reducing prejudiced attitudes and behaviours,” they add.
Though it is certainly difficult to quantify the beliefs of a city populace, this study’s evidence reinforces the “humanising” effect of Muslim players in football.
Salah is not the only Muslim in the Liverpool squad, with Sadio Mane, Sheridan Shaqiri and Naby Keita also followers of Islam.
On Tuesday, the quartet celebrate the beginning of Eid al Fitr, a festival to mark the end of Ramadan, with Shaqiri and Mane both taking to Instagram to wish their followers Eid Mubarak:
Salah has scored 71 goals and laid on 29 assists in 104 games for the club, with a remarkable 100 direct goal contributions averaging at almost one per outing.