by Andres Marcuse-Gonzalez, Fundraising Associate

FIFA must prevent a repeat of Mohamed Salah’s humiliating treatment in Russia.

At a time when right-wing nationalist and xenophobic movements are making gains across Western Europe and the United States, the words now being sung by fans of one of England’s most storied soccer clubs might come as a bit of a shock:

“Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, Mo Sa-la-la-la-lah, if he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too. He’s sitting in the mosque, that’s where I want to be.”

Mo, the Egyptian King, Egyptian Messi, the Pharaoh—all these nicknames refer to Mohamed Salah, a 26-year-old Egyptian soccer player whose sensational performance with Liverpool FC took the English Premier League and the rest of the soccer-loving world by storm in the 2017–18 season. He set the record for most goals scored in an English Premier League season, led Liverpool to the final of Europe’s most prestigious club competition, the Champions League, and helped Egypt qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Salah has transcended rampant Islamophobia, becoming arguably the most popular Muslim individual in the world. The World Cup this summer seemed destined to cement his place among the game’s greatest players.

Political exploitation yields a soured legacy

As it turns out, Salah largely disappointed at the World Cup, missing the first match due to an injury and recording only a single goal in the tournament. The Egyptian team went winless in three matches and was sent packing after failing to…

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