Dear Mohamed Salah,
In spite of the hate you are unfairly receiving for your Muslim faith, I would like to congratulate your successes this year. As a fellow soccer player, your skill on the pitch leaves me speechless. I was watching one of your games with my friends, and once you got the ball the room fell silent. We were caught in a trance, watching you weave through City’s defense as if you were playing a video game. Also, taking Liverpool to the Champions League Final and Egypt to the World Cup is an incredible feat! Ballon d’Or candidate and Premiership Player of the Month! You have truly put on a show.
Although most people focus on your wonderful play, I’m more amazed by something else: your celebration. Anyone who watches Liverpool frequently probably knows it by now: You score, you run to the stands, you cheer with your teammates, then, you jog back to the circle, drop to your knees, raise your hands to the sky, then bow, prostrating yourself to the world. When you perform this ritual, the crowd seems to go silent, letting you connect with Allah; then you stand up and everyone goes crazy again. This is what should be celebrated.
While Britain is fighting Islamophobia and the amount of hate crimes against Muslims are rising each year, you, a Muslim from North Africa, are unifying England, one goal at a time. Your brave actions in a country that seemingly hates your faith make you a role model to anyone, Muslim or other, who is scared to practice their religion in a non-inclusive environment. However well you perform on the soccer field, nothing will outweigh your influence on Islamophobia in England. No, I’m not saying that you will suddenly make all Brits tolerant of other religions, but you could play a major role in creating a more accepting England and, by extension, world. All I know is that fans sing songs about you when you take the field, and whether you intend to or not, you are making British Muslims proud and making the world a more inclusive place. Please continue what you are doing. Thank you on behalf of everyone you’ve inspired, on and off the pitch.