The leading Sunni institution Al-Azhar has condemned reported racist chants by the British Chelsea fans against Liverpool’s Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah.
The institution’s observatory for countering extremism said in a statement on Friday that the “racial excesses are a dangerous indicator, demonstrating that extremist practices do not stop at the level of hatred of Muslims in the streets or attacks on the places of worship, but are echoed in the football stadiums.”
The chants discriminated against the player’s identity as an Arab Muslim. The institution also rejected “the culture of hatred by some Western media which have resulted in terrorist events against Muslims.”
“The world has recently witnessed good morals and humane behavior from Salah,” the observatory said adding that his actions can be considered as “correcting the image of false Islam is the main foundation of good treatment and good morals.”
After the chants were reported, three Chelsea fans were stopped from entering Slavia Prague’s stadium for Thursday’s Europa League match. Chelsea, who are scheduled to play Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, issued a statement on their website condemning any form of discriminatory behaviour.
“Chelsea finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour abhorrent and where there is clear evidence of Chelsea season ticket holders or members involved in such behaviour, we will take the strongest possible action against them.
Liverpool said in a statement that “the video circulating online, showing vile discriminatory chants being aimed at one of our players, is dangerous and disturbing.”