- Nottingham Forest fan Ben Bird says Mohamed Salah inspired him to become a Muslim
- The Englishman said the Egyptian's way of life is responsible for his action
- Salah joined Liverpool from AS Roma and has won two Premier League Golden Boots so far
Nottingham Forest season ticket holder Ben Bird has revealed that Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah was the reason he converted to a Muslim.
The Egyptian forward joined the Reds from AS Roma in the summer of 2017 and has been massive for the Merseyside so far.
Salah led Jurgen Klopp to Champions League triumph at the end of last season and also won his second straight Premier League golden boot - after finishing a joint top scorer with Aubameyang and Sadio Mane.
The 27-year-old has become so influential for the Anfield side, but much more off the pitch, his character has been affecting the lives of majority of his fans.
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And he has now influenced Nottingham Forest fan Ben Bird who against all odds became a Muslim.
Bird, while speaking to Guardian, revealed that Salah is the first Muslim he could relate to due to the simple way he lives his life.
"It’s the way he lives his life, how he talks to people," he said.
He also noted: "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.
"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."
Bird continued: "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 Englishman further stated that the song Liverpool fans composed for the former Chelsea further played a key role in his decision to switch religion.
Some part of the song said: "If he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too”, and I literally took that to heart.
Bird recalled that last season, Chelsea fans chanted “Salah is a bomber”. He added that it was the first time he had to leave the stadium, saying he was livid because of the statement.
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.
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"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.
Bird added that university gave him the opportunity to meet a lot of students from Saudi Arabia who changed his conceptions about the Arab countries. He said they are the nicest people he's met.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Mohamed Salah has come under huge criticisms from a Muslim faithful concerning the way his daughter dresses.
The Egyptian striker was among the scorers that handed Liverpool a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid.
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