Liverpool FC’s signing of Mo Salah may be behind a significant fall in Islamophobia in the city, according to a new study.
Researchers at Stanford University’s Immigration Policy Lab found a 18.9% drop in hate crimes since the Muslim striker joined the club in June 2017.
No other type of offence saw a similar reduction.
Anti-Muslim tweets from Liverpool fans dropped by half in the same period.
By examining 15 million tweets from football fans and surveying 8,060 Liverpool supporters, the authors wrote: “Taken together, the evidence points to Salah’s rise in prominence causing a decrease in hate crimes in Liverpool FC’s home county.”
“Few Muslims in British public life have been as open about their Muslim identity, and are as well-liked, as Salah.”
A prominent Muslim, he has become a role model not only for his home country of Egypt but for the Arab nation as a whole.
The 26-year-old was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019 earlier this year.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said at the time: “I’m very proud of that, because people in football, we are obviously on television, in newspapers a lot, and most of the time we don’t say very smart things,” said Klopp.
“But Mo is a very smart person and his role is very influential. He said a couple of really good things and inspired, hopefully, some people on one side to think about a few things, and on the other side he got other people aware of him.
“In the world at the moment, it is very important that you have people like Mo.”
Salah’s four-year-old daughter has also become something of a star. Last month, while the players were walking out of the Liverpool stadium, she started to dribble the ball from the penalty area, and took her own shot at scoring a goal and getting a huge response from the crowd.