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Football a Unifying force in Muslim friendly Liverpool 

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LIVERPOOL – As Mohamed Salah wins more hearts in Liverpool, the city’s Muslim population see football as a unifying force in the city, which was the home of solicitor William Quilliam, the first English Muslim convert to Islam in 1887, and where he opened the UK’s first mosque and Islamic center.

“The Mo Salah song shows how tolerant and welcoming the people of Liverpool really are. Historically Liverpool has a reputation of welcoming visitors and also is the site of one of the first mosques in the British Isles,” Asif Bodi, a Liverpool fan and club member, told BBC Thursday.

“It’s great to see all the positive outpouring of affection towards Mohamed. I would get behind any Liverpool player but I can’t hide my pride that Mo is not only a great Liverpool player but he is also a fellow devout Muslim too.”

Bodi was referring to a recent song by Liverpool fanswho rewrote the lyrics to 1996 hit Good Enough by Dodgy.

The words of the chorus are adjusted to celebrate the feats of the Egyptian striker: “If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too. If he’s good enough for you he’s good enough for me, he’s sitting in the mosque that’s where I wanna be.”

A regular at Anfield stadium, Bodi is part of a large number of Muslims who support Liverpool, and he says Salah‘s performances and goals have seen that number grow.

“The success of Salah has also led to an increase in the Liverpool fan base in the UK and around the Muslim world. I was pleased to hear of a 10-year-old Manchester United fan who became a Liverpool fan because of the song. That can only be good,” he added.

The atmosphere was not all friendly in Liverpool previously.

 

Abubakar Bulla (left) and Asif Bodi (right) are ardent Liverpool supporters

In September 2016, images of both Bodi and Abubakar Bhula, another ardent Liverpool supporter, praying at Anfield caused a storm on Twitter with one Liverpool fan tweeting “Muslims praying at half-time at the match yesterday. #Disgrace.”

Looking back, Bodi and Bulla wonder if those fans who had a negative view on their praying are now the same fans cheering loudly as Muslim striker Salah scores more goals.

“I now think that the negative Twitter reaction to our praying was the reaction of a very small minority, and the Mo Salah song displays the true feelings of Liverpudlians,” reflected Bodi, who praised Liverpool’s fans’ prayer room.

“This facility has undoubtedly led to a greater number of Muslims attending games. Its success can be judged by the fact that it has been outgrown with many more people wishing to use it than it can accommodate at any specific time.”

A recent report by Football Against Racism in Europe(Fare) found that the success of Liverpool Muslim star Mohamed Salah has significantly decreased hate and race crimes in the English Premier League.

Salah is not the only Muslim player in Liverpool and Premier League. More players can be found in the report below.

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