LONDON – Mohamed Salah and other Liverpool Muslim players are facing a religious challenge if their team reach the final of Europe’s Champions League, as the games will coincide with the Muslims’ holy fasting month of Ramadan.
“Salah is a Muslim. He’s doing all the things that Muslims do,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed in an interview with Channel 4 News, The Sun reported.
“Before a game, washing procedures and stuff like that.
“We come a minute or two minutes early in the dressing room so that he can be ready for the game. It’s him, Sadio Mane and Emre Can.”
Hailing from a Muslim-majority country, Salah is a devout Muslim who often prostrates to God on the field after scoring goals – a trend in sports that Egyptian players have started since 2006 during the African Cup of Nations in Egypt- hence nicknamed the ‘Prostrating Pharaohs’.
This year, if Liverpool reach the final in Kiev, the game would be held 10 days after the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, expected to start mid May.
Salah fasts during the holy month of Ramadan. He admitted in 2014 he found observing Ramadan difficult to combine with pre-season training at Chelsea.
“Ramadan was a bit difficult for me because we had two training sessions every day, the weather was very hot and I played in every game,” Salah.
“I wasn’t even able to drink water until 9.30 pm. Although I am used to it, it’s finished now and I can eat and drink as normal.
“When you train twice a day, your energy levels drop by the second session, but it means a lot to me so I’m very happy and I feel good.”
Shawki Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, has given permission to Salah and his international team-mates in the Egyptian squad to postpone their fasting in the days building up to the World Cup.
But Salah and his fellow Muslims in the Liverpool, Sadio Mane and Emre Can, will have to make a decision if the Reds reach finals.
Klopp acknowledged that Salah has become a symbol of unity in a world full of conflict and anti-Muslim bigotry.
“It’s fantastic. It’s exactly what we need in these times,” the Liverpool boss said.
“To see this wonderful young man, full of joy, full of love, full of friendship, full of everything, in a world where we all struggle to understand all the things happening around this planet.
“Mo is the perfect ambassador for Egypt, for the whole Arab world.”
Ramadan is the holiest month in Islamic calendar in which adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to be closer to Allah through prayers, self-restraint, and good deeds.
Two months ago, the traveling Liverpool fans in the streets of a Portuguese city in midweek struck up a new chant to the tune of the 90s hit “Good Enough” by Dodgy with the line: “If he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too!”
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.