Islamophobic Chants Against Mohamed Salah Spark Debate About Racism in Football
A viral video showing a number of Chelsea fans in a pub chanting a song about Mohamed Salah being a ‘bomber’ has sparked outrage in the football community. The fans laughed and kept on singing as onlookers joined.
The uproar the video caused led both Liverpool and Chelsea to issue condemning statements, while ex-footballers weighed in with their two cents; almost all agreed that the footage was dangerous as well as disturbing. Liverpool F.C. went so far as to state that the behavior is nothing but ‘unadulterated bigotry’.
Moreover, Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s Coach, has called for a lifetime ban for the fans who taunted the Liverpool star for his origin.
Chelsea did not stand idle, and when three of the chanting fans were recognized, immediately, the decision has been made to ban them from entering the stadium for Thursday’s Europa League fixture against Slavia Prague on Thursday night.
Mohamed Salah has remained silent about the incident; however, Al-Azhar Mosque Observatory for Combating Extremism in Egypt has condemned the racist chants, describing them as ‘anti-Muslim’ as well as ‘anti-Arab’.
The comments come in the light of the upcoming match on Sunday between the two football giants as part of the Premier League Championship.
Chelsea’s swift condemnation has garnered support as well as respect from fans all over the world. However, the issue is not isolated with several major racist controversies in the past few months alone. At a time when football should be bringing people together, the bleak reality shatters hope of unity.
With each incident, responsible fans look to football’s governing authorities for actions but organizations such as FIFA and UEFA, yet in most of the time the sanctions they issue often leave anti-racism activists and footballers disappointed.
“They don’t do enough. Football should bring people together. The problems shouldn’t be hidden away,” stated Arsenal Footballer Hector Bellerin in a statement to TRT World.
Hopefully, a stronger position on abuse and racism would be more prevalent in the rise of such bigotted comments.