Liverpool football club’s star forward, Mohamed Salah, has single-handedly reduced Islamophobia in Merseyside, a study has found.
The report, produced by Stanford University in the U.S. titled, “Can Exposure to Celebrities Reduce Prejudice? The Effect of Mohamed Salah on Islamophobic Behaviors and Attitudes” concluded that: “Overall, we interpret these results to support the hypothesis that Salah’s arrival at Liverpool FC caused a decrease in extreme acts of bigotry”.
The research from four university professors is based on 936 county-month hate crime statistics, 15 million tweets from English football fans, and a survey of 8,060 Liverpool fans.
The study states: “We find that Merseyside county (home to Liverpool F.C.) experienced an 18.9 per cent drop in hate crimes relative to a synthetic control, while no similar effect was found for other types of crime.
“We also find that Liverpool F.C. fans halved their rates of posting anti-Muslim tweets (a drop from 7.2 per cent to 3.4 per cent of tweets about Muslims) relative to fans of other top-flight English soccer clubs.
“The survey experiment suggests that these results may be driven by increased familiarity with Islam. Our findings indicate that positive exposure to outgroup role models can reveal new information that humanises the outgroup writ large.”
Salah, 26, is one of four Muslims in the Liverpool team, along with Sadio Mane, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita.
The Egyptian forward’s most iconic goal celebration includes the sujood, the Islamic act of prostrating to God in prayer.