Sri Lanka needs to find its Mo Salah | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka needs to find its Mo Salah

Mo Salah: a goal machine for the Merseyside club leading them to the Champions League glory last week. Pic courtesy Internet
Mo Salah: a goal machine for the Merseyside club leading them to the Champions League glory last week. Pic courtesy Internet

Islamophobia is probably a new term for most Sri Lankans given that Sri Lankan Muslims have been well and truly a huge part of the society, despite their differences like all the other ethnic groups.

However, since the brutal Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka, Islamophobia has been on the rise and several events which took place in recent times have only helped it grow.

First used in the 1970s, the term Islamophobia is commonly used in Western countries. It is the fear, hatred of, or prejudice against the Islamic religion or Muslims, especially when seen as a geopolitical force or the source of terrorism.

There are several countries in particular where Islamophobia is a huge issue, but as one can understand, it is downright rude and stupid to consider every Muslim a terrorist. Although it has not become a serious issue in Sri Lanka, there are certain countries in which there is very little love for Muslims.

Earlier this week however, staggering reports emerged in England as research conducted by Stanford University found an 18.9 percent drop in anti-Muslim hate crimes on Merseyside in the period since Mo Salah signed for Liverpool in June 2017, in a £34m transfer from Roma. No other offence had a comparable drop in the same time frame, while anti-Muslim tweets by Liverpool fans halved compared to other major Premier League clubs.

Fondly called the ‘Egyptian King’ by Liverpool fans, Salah has been a goal machine for the Merseyside club leading them to the Champions League glory last week, netting one of the two goals they scored in the final against Tottenham Hotspur.

Salah’s heroics have been a revaluation for his football club, but as a public figure, he has been able to bring love for the Muslim community as indicated by the research. In fact, as reported by the British Media, the Liverpool fans even went on to chant, “If he scores another few then I’ll be a Muslim too.” This is something Sri Lanka could certainly take notes from. Sri Lanka has had some amazing Muslim sports personalities. The former all-rounder Farveez Maharoof was one of the players who played at the highest level for a long time, and during the days of war, former great Muttiah Muralitharan played such an instrumental part in bringing Sri Lanka together.

After the events which took place in Minuwangoda, many felt that it would spread hatred among the Muslim community; especially among the young generation of Muslims. Many feared that attacks of that nature would encourage the Muslims to strike back at some point. However, Mo Salah’s story goes on to show the entire world that you can change everything with love. Taking weapons into hand is not the way one could make a difference. Imagine getting another ethnic group to sing “If he scores another few then I’ll be Muslim too.” What Salah has done for the Muslim community, Zaharan Hashim would have never achieved. From Kattankudy, Mawanella, Thihariya, Kudugalwatte and all the way down to Galle, Sri Lanka is waiting for its Mo Salah.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Ministers in Sri Lanka resigned from their posts to protest their community not being protected by the Government. This is bizarre because they are the representatives of the Muslim people of this country and it is very understandable that this so called Islamophobia is creeping in, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

It is hard to imagine what sort of message they are trying to send out at this minute. If there was a need for this, it could have been done earlier, but at this very moment it looks like they opted to resign because two of their fellow Muslims had to resign for obvious reasons. Is this really a protest on behalf of the thousands of Muslims across the country?

President Maithripala Sirisena however has said that everyone involved in the Easter Sunday attacks has been either killed or detained and that Sri Lanka is a safe country while also urging people not to have “feelings of hate towards the Muslims in general because of the brutal acts by a few extremists.”