Islamaphobia reduced in Liverpool after football club signed Salah, report finds

  • Report author Ala' Alrababa'h chats to Granada Reports presenter Lucy Meacock

Hate crime directed at Muslims has fallen in Liverpool since the club signed forward Mohamed Salah, a report has found.

The study says Islamaphobia is down 16% in the city, while the number of anti-Muslim tweets posted by Liverpool fans halved compared to other top-flight clubs.

A number of positive songs about Salah's religion have also been created by supporters, adding to the increasing reduction in prejudice.

Ala' Alrababa'h, one of the study's authors, says he was surprised by the findings.

He said: "There's a lot of literature on the effect of contact and so on on prejudice, and most of the literature finds that it's very difficult to change people's opinions, political attitudes, prejudice and so on.

"Not only changing people's attitudes but their behaviour - so actually reducing hate crimes - this was very surprising for us."

Ala' added however that there was a danger Salah's popularity could change overnight.

Ala' said: "Very often minority players get attacked a lot for mistakes, one lucky thing for the study period was how much Salah has been successful with Liverpool.

"He was top scorer, he helped them win the Champions League and win the Premier League and so on.

"That's something we do not know yet but we're hoping to study in the future."

The report also found media portrayal of minority celebrities such as Salah also plays an important role, with more positive coverage leading to reduced prejudice.

Mohamed Salah signed for Liverpool in 2017 and, in his first season, scored 32 goals in 36 league games.

He helped the club to consecutive Champion's League finals - where they were crowned winners in 2019.

The team also won the Premier League in 2020 for the first time in their history.