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How Mohamed Salah inspired me to become a Muslim

313ghazi

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Mohamed Salah really and honestly inspired me. I’m a Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder, I can be myself but because I made the declaration of faith I’m a Muslim. I’m still me and that’s what I took from Mohamed Salah. I’d love to meet him, just to shake his hand and say “Cheers” or “Shukran”.

I don’t think my mates quite believe that I’m a Muslim because I’ve not really changed. I just think my heart is better. I’m really trying to change on match days. Normally it’s pub, put a bet on, then after the game back to the pub and realise you’ve lost a lot of money. It’s hard when you’re used to such a culture and it’s part of football for a lot of people.

I’m embarrassed to say this but my opinions on Islam used to be that the religion, the culture and the people were backward; that they didn’t integrate and wanted to take over. I always looked at Muslims like the elephant in the room. I had a hatred of Muslims.

When I was in sixth form it was a period where I think I needed someone to blame for my misfortunes. Unfortunately Muslims got the brunt of it and I quickly discovered right-wing media pages. They sort of groomed me by sending me long propaganda pieces and suchlike.

Even though I had these horrible ideas of Islam, I would never say them to a Muslim. At this point I didn’t know any Muslims. My degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Leeds changed everything.

We had to do a dissertation and I wanted to do something a bit different. I remember my dyslexia tutor telling me: “What about Mohamed Salah’s song?” I was aware of it and I thought it was fantastic but I hadn’t considered it in those terms.

I finally got the question: “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah. Is the performance of Mohamed Salah igniting a conversation that combats Islamapobia within the media and political spheres?”

The Liverpool fans’ song – to the tune of Dodgy’s hit Good Enough – includes the line “If he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too”, and I literally took that to heart.

I was a typical white-boy student who went to a different city, would get absolutely hammered and lived the student life. My degree was the first time I learned about Islam in an academic way.

University gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of students from Saudi Arabia. I thought they were evil people who carried swords but they’re the nicest people I’ve met. The conceptions I had about Arab countries completely dissolved.

Mohamed Salah was the first Muslim I could relate to. It’s the way he lives his life, how he talks to people. The other week he posed for a picture with a Liverpool fan who suffered a broken nose chasing after him. I know some other footballers would do that but you expect it now from Salah.

At university I interviewed Egyptian students and when they found out my research was about “Mohamed Salah, a gift from Allah” – which is also another Liverpool song – they would talk to me for hours about how great he is and what he’s done for their country. One million Egyptians spoiled their ballots and voted for him to be president last year.

One of the Egyptians I talked to told me that Salah encompasses what being a Muslim is, following Islam correctly. He believed that Salah is making people love Muslims again.

That really resonated with me. When Salah scores I think he’s scoring for the faith. When he won the Champions League I said to my friend that was a victory for Islam. After each of his goals Salah practises the sujood (prostration) and exposes a very Islamic symbol to the world. How many people watch the Premier League every week? Millions globally.

Salah showed me that you can be normal and a Muslim, if that’s the right phrase. You can be yourself. He’s a great player and is respected by the football community and his politics, his religion, don’t matter – and to me that’s what football can do.

When people read the Quran, or read about Islam, they see something different that is not always portrayed in the media. I’m new to the Islamic community and I’m still learning. It is hard. It’s a lifestyle change.

What would I say to the Ben of old? I’d give him a smack, to be honest, and I’d say: ‘How dare you think like that about a people that are so diverse. You need to start talking to people. You need to start asking the questions.’ We live in a multicultural, multifaith, multinational society.

Last season Chelsea fans were singing “Salah is a bomber”. That’s the first time on my social media that I had a right go. I was livid because I’m for football banter but you know when things are just not true.

Now, I’d say to Muslim kids: ‘Don’t be afraid to go to a football match.’ I think that’s an issue we have to look at from both sides. I was afraid of being segregated. I don’t want to lose my mates because I look at them as brothers to me. Now I’ve got a fifth of the world’s population as brothers and sisters.

The community has to branch out, play football, go to football. It’s up to us to realise that we’re in this together. And the best spokesman for that could be Mohamed Salah.

https://www.theguardian.com/footbal...lah-inspired-me-become-muslim-liverpool-islam
 

313ghazi

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I want you to re-read this article and look at the bits i've highlighted blue. I think this is a challenge for the Muslim community in the west. There are not enough of us actively putting ourselves out there, promoting who we are and what our values are, what our thoughts are.

Even if we wanted too - i don't think many of us are educated enough or trained to articulate it correctly.

A part of me long argued - why should I have to do it? I'm a normal guy, living a normal life, why should I do PR for myself or other Muslims? It's a valid arguement - in an equal society we shouldn't have too.

Unfortunately society is not equal, we're at a disadvantage due to discrimination against us, I think it's important we do take an extra step. In the UK our elders were simple working people, unequipped to do this. I think we're in the third of 4th generation for most families - we need to be stepping up.

There are 3 benefits;

1. Personal - you and I stand to benefit from normalising perceptions about Muslims.
2. Communal - the wider community stands to benefit from normalising perceptions about Muslims.
3. Spiritual - but removing the barrier of negative discrimination and anti Muslim propaganda, we open the door of Islam for the curious minds. If someone should take that step, you'll share in the reward.

This doesn't have to a mass in your face dawah mission (although there is scope for "meet a muslim tents"), but rather lots of tiny steps.

I go out in Salwar Kameez sometimes (summer usually). I'm a big bloke, i have a short beard, often it looks like i'm scowling because i dont like the bright sun in my eyes. Easily identifiable as a muslim in jeans and a T-shirt let alone salwar kameez.

But when i do go out in our traditional gear - i'll interact with people where i can in a friendly manner. Say hello to the checkout lady, talk about the weather, ask her if she's got long left on her shift.

If i make eye contact with someone, i try to smile, it disarms all of us.

There is lots more to do. All of us should be doing our own little bit.
 

V. Makarov

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I want you to re-read this article and look at the bits i've highlighted blue. I think this is a challenge for the Muslim community in the west. There are not enough of us actively putting ourselves out there, promoting who we are and what our values are, what our thoughts are.

Even if we wanted too - i don't think many of us are educated enough or trained to articulate it correctly.

A part of me long argued - why should I have to do it? I'm a normal guy, living a normal life, why should I do PR for myself or other Muslims? It's a valid arguement - in an equal society we shouldn't have too.

Unfortunately society is not equal, we're at a disadvantage due to discrimination against us, I think it's important we do take an extra step. In the UK our elders were simple working people, unequipped to do this. I think we're in the third of 4th generation for most families - we need to be stepping up.

There are 3 benefits;

1. Personal - you and I stand to benefit from normalising perceptions about Muslims.
2. Communal - the wider community stands to benefit from normalising perceptions about Muslims.
3. Spiritual - but removing the barrier of negative discrimination and anti Muslim propaganda, we open the door of Islam for the curious minds. If someone should take that step, you'll share in the reward.

This doesn't have to a mass in your face dawah mission (although there is scope for "meet a muslim tents"), but rather lots of tiny steps.

I go out in Salwar Kameez sometimes (summer usually). I'm a big bloke, i have a short beard, often it looks like i'm scowling because i dont like the bright sun in my eyes. Easily identifiable as a muslim in jeans and a T-shirt let alone salwar kameez.

But when i do go out in our traditional gear - i'll interact with people where i can in a friendly manner. Say hello to the checkout lady, talk about the weather, ask her if she's got long left on her shift.

If i make eye contact with someone, i try to smile, it disarms all of us.

There is lots more to do. All of us should be doing our own little bit.
Thanks for posting this. I think that I.K's speech at the UN has inspired confidence inn many overseas Pakistanis. Every educated Pakistani should now work hard to tackle Islamophobia. They should get to know as many westerners as possible and present to them their case against Islamophobia and other misconceptions. From the article I understand that socializing with them is key so that they understand more about Muslims.
 

313ghazi

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Thanks for posting this. I think that I.K's speech at the UN has inspired confidence inn many overseas Pakistanis. Every educated Pakistani should now work hard to tackle Islamophobia. They should get to know as many westerners as possible and present to them their case against Islamophobia and other misconceptions. From the article I understand that socializing with them is key so that they understand more about Muslims.
I can't talk about other societies in depth but I think in the UK we've had this downfall. The very first generation that came in the 50's and 60's did socialise. They had to - otherwise they could not survive. They worked in factories alongside English people, often had English neighbours, went to English shops; so the bridges were built. Of course this dialogue was simple pleasantries.

The generations that followed took a bit of a backward step; inadvertently. People setup business, we bought houses nearer our own, large communities started building. At the same time manufacturing industry in this country was being wiped out, factory workers were become taxi drivers, waiters, cooks, small business owners.

This mean you ended up spending your money at a Pakistani shop, you bought tea from a Pakistani cafe, you lived with Pakistani neighbours, you worked with Pakistani colleagues. White English people started moving out of the areas (they didn't want immigrant neighbours) and our people moved in. This led to less regular interaction with the locals. Our numbers increased but our interactions weren't as frequent, or as meaningful. You might talk to a colleague during a lunch break, but if you only see white people walking on the streets, it's going to be limited to hello/hi, if that.

The same thing happens at school. Unless you went to a school with very few Pakistani students, you'd eventually end up with a close circle of Pakistani friends. This is because British teenagers would start getting involved in sex, drinking, nightclubs and unless you were the sort who would also do that, suddenly you'd have less in common with old friends. Of course there are always exceptions, but generally cliques form, so even in the education system, interactions die down.

We created masjids but our imams didn't speak english. They became just places where old men would go, read namaz and leave. Our own youngsters would struggle to get an islamic education, let alone strangers coming in to find out what is what.

-------------

Today in some of our communities we see slow steady change.

  • Our central masjid holds open days every year. They advertise poorly, but they do hold them. It's part of a national innitative.
  • More than ever our community is involved in professional jobs, in offices, call centres, places where you can interact with other people. This provides opportunities for communication.
  • Our community is moving into the suburbs as it gets wealthier. You don't always get white neighbours - seeing as how a lot of them still move away, but they're more mixed communities than our inner city enclave. Again another opportunity to interact.
  • Social media allows people to share views and interact from the comfort of their own homes.
  • We have imams actively doing community work. Shaykh Muhammad Aslam who has recently been appointed in charge of education at the Gamkol Sharif masjid has done lots of excellent work, including setting up youth centres, special social clubs for women, others have done outreach programmes, including stalls on the high street, handing out flowers and food as gifts in exchange for a small chat.
Whilst talking about social media - a great idea for everyone, especially those of us who have non muslim social media friends. Share stories about the Prophet Muhammad pbuh on your platforms. The more positive people read about the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, the less impact the propaganda will have.
 

Longhorn

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I totally understand misconceptions around Islamophobia, it is never right to humiliate or single out anyone over their beliefs. I have muslim friends and family and will always protect them and stand up for them. Any non muslim friend I have is not islamaphobic, that is my criteria for a friend.

However and its a big however, people have access to the internet and they can google any topic and get factual results and also some fabricated ones.

When they open up the Quran and it says kill all non believers and they combine that with terrorist attacks in the news, how do you think that makes them feel?

They feel threatened and scared.

So if you want to make a difference then this is the area that needs your attention.

You get ignorant racists who you will never convince, they are full racists hate me you everyone coloured.

But then you get the nice non Muslim folk who are always open to new ideas and cultures.

I will give you an example I had a white Irish friend stay over and she is a really good person,well travelled, cultured, understand opression on Muslims in Kashmir and Mynamar. Understands there is an issue with islamaphobia. BUT when push comes to shove she said Islam is a cult.

This is what people are thinking. You guys have come on too strong, it might have worked pre internet era when there was no reference point but with internet they can debunk anything including christianity which non muslims have already debunked. So this is your challenge, good luck.
Good post.
You have to talk to people in a language they understand.
Everything has to be explained and argued on it's merits or demerits. A religious edict means nothing to them if it isn't backed up by reason and logic.
Assertions of moral superiority on the back of scripture don't cut it unless they are backed by sound reasoning and facts.
 

313ghazi

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I totally understand misconceptions around Islamophobia, it is never right to humiliate or single out anyone over their beliefs. I have muslim friends and family and will always protect them and stand up for them. Any non muslim friend I have is not islamaphobic, that is my criteria for a friend.

However and its a big however, people have access to the internet and they can google any topic and get factual results and also some fabricated ones.

When they open up the Quran and it says kill all non believers and they combine that with terrorist attacks in the news, how do you think that makes them feel?

They feel threatened and scared.

So if you want to make a difference then this is the area that needs your attention.

You get ignorant racists who you will never convince, they are full racists hate me you everyone coloured.

But then you get the nice non Muslim folk who are always open to new ideas and cultures.

I will give you an example I had a white Irish friend stay over and she is a really good person,well travelled, cultured, understand opression on Muslims in Kashmir and Mynamar. Understands there is an issue with islamaphobia. BUT when push comes to shove she said Islam is a cult.

This is what people are thinking. You guys have come on too strong, it might have worked pre internet era when there was no reference point but with internet they can debunk anything including christianity which non muslims have already debunked. So this is your challenge, good luck.
Want to ask a personal question, Feel free to tell me to do one. Do you identify as a Muslim?
 

Mutakalim

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When they open up the Quran and it says kill all non believers and they combine that with terrorist attacks in the news, how do you think that makes them feel?
Rubbish. Where Quran says that kill all non Muslims?

You get ignorant racists who you will never convince, they are full racists hate me you everyone coloured.
You are a proved ignorant racist who hate Arabs because they defeated and humiliated your forefathers in the battlefield. Stop pointing fingers at others.

Assertions of moral superiority on the back of scripture don't cut it unless they are backed by sound reasoning and facts.
There is a scripture which invites all mankind to reason and logic.
 

313ghazi

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Rubbish. Where Quran says that kill all non Muslims?


You are a proved ignorant racist who hate Arabs because they defeated and humiliated your forefathers in the battlefield. Stop pointing fingers at others.


There is a scripture which invites all mankind to reason and logic.
With all due respect, i don't think this conversation is really going to benefit the wider discussion we should have in this topic.
 

Mutakalim

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With all due respect, i don't think this conversation is really going to benefit the wider discussion we should have in this topic.
Agreed. However brother, we have to confront these racist and Islamophobic people. They are twisting the facts to insult Islam and it's teachings. They dont spare a moment to malign Islam and we restraint ourselves just to restrict to the topic at hand. Why are we shying away from the threat which is confronting us in our own country? The threat of extreme liberalism ans secularism. They are openly mocking and ridiculing our Islamic state and our religion and we are not even ready to confront them and answer their senseless and idiotic propaganda.

This man is a known blasphemer and yet management of this forum is allowing him to post and spread his malicious ideas. His posts were reported many times but still he is allowed to post here. Every other post of his is filled with derogatory remarks against Islam and Mods are silent on this issue. @Dubious @The Eagle @Irfan Baloch
 

Dubious

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Agreed. However brother, we have to confront these racist and Islamophobic people. They are twisting the facts to insult Islam and it's teachings. They dont spare a moment to malign Islam and we restraint ourselves just to restrict to the topic at hand. Why are we shying away from the threat which is confronting us in our own country? The threat of extreme liberalism ans secularism. They are openly mocking and ridiculing our Islamic state and our religion and we are not even ready to confront them and answer their senseless and idiotic propaganda.

This man is a known blasphemer and yet management of this forum is allowing him to post and spread his malicious ideas. His posts were reported many times but still he is allowed to post here. Every other post of his is filled with derogatory remarks against Islam and Mods are silent on this issue. @Dubious @The Eagle @Irfan Baloch
Brother if this topic is to be allowed we can't cherry pick which idiot waltz's into the thread.

You need to show patience like brother @313ghazi otherwise this thread will be locked like all such threads.

With all due respect, i don't think this conversation is really going to benefit the wider discussion we should have in this topic.
I will allow this topic because islamophobia is a problem and needs to be addressed.

This is for everyone
However brothers please behave like a Muslim (not a savage), when trying to portray this problem and offer solutions.
 

Longhorn

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Rubbish. Where Quran says that kill all non Muslims?


You are a proved ignorant racist who hate Arabs because they defeated and humiliated your forefathers in the battlefield. Stop pointing fingers at others.


There is a scripture which invites all mankind to reason and logic.
Absolutely, and the problem is that people are not prepared to study, reason and debate, instead expecting people who do not have belief to accept scripture at face value or their version/interpretation, then being offended or angry when they don't.
 

jamahir

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@313ghazi , when British citizens came out on the streets in 2003 to protest against the Iraq invasion, how many of those protesters were Muslim ??

And there was the incident of some "Muslims" shaming Malala because she was wearing jeans.

And from what I know of Britain from my remote perspective here in India, there are the infamous Sharia Patrols and unneeded solicitations by Anjem Choudary and his fans.

All these things do not give Islam any credit.

Young Muslims in Britain ( and Europe ) should rather be joining Socialist movements, which would give Islam its proper face.
 

313ghazi

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@313ghazi , when British citizens came out on the streets in 2003 to protest against the Iraq invasion, how many of those protesters were Muslim ??

And there was the incident of some "Muslims" shaming Malala because she was wearing jeans.

And from what I know of Britain from my remote perspective here in India, there are the infamous Sharia Patrols and unneeded solicitations by Anjem Choudary and his fans.

All these things do not give Islam any credit.

Young Muslims in Britain ( and Europe ) should rather be joining Socialist movements, which would give Islam its proper face.
Actually quite a lot of them were Muslims (considering the tiny fraction of the population we are). Furthermore there are hundreds of Muslims in elected local govvernment positions, as well as 15 Muslim members of parliament (out of 6 hundred and something). The Labour party accounted for 12 of those.

Anjem Choudary is one man, with less than 50 followers. He has more media stories published about him every year than he has followers in total.

Those people don't represent us and the UK media shares in the blame of them being portrayed as us. I think thats at a tangent though.
 

jamahir

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Actually quite a lot of them were Muslims (considering the tiny fraction of the population we are). Furthermore there are hundreds of Muslims in elected local govvernment positions, as well as 15 Muslim members of parliament (out of 6 hundred and something). The Labour party accounted for 12 of those.

Anjem Choudary is one man, with less than 50 followers. He has more media stories published about him every year than he has followers in total.

Those people don't represent us and the UK media shares in the blame of them being portrayed as us. I think thats at a tangent though.
Thank you for your patient reply.
 

Longhorn

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I'm a football fan and M. Salah is diving, cheating so and so.
Good footballer and a nice lad though.
 

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