Editor’s Note: This story was published without the author’s awareness of the context of Mohamed Salah’s quotes and does not reflect The Liverpool Offside’s full and considered take on the situation, and for that we apologise. A new story that takes into account the Amr Warda situation can be found here.
“Mo Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world.”
The above was a quote from comedian and Liverpool supporter John Oliver, after Salah was named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list earlier this year.
Instead of shirking the immense responsibilities that come from being a global footballing icon, and a Muslim one at that, Salah has seemingly embraced them. Indeed, he has seemed to become more and more bold and outspoken, to not just be a sports icon, but a social one.
For the Time interview, Salah wanted to focus on one issue in particular: women’s rights.
“I think we need to change the way we treat women in our culture. It’s not optional” Salah said.
It was brief. Simple. Straight forward. And immense.
Salah could be forgiven for not wanting any part of the pressure that comes from being a social icon. He could just want to get on with the game that he loves. Simply by being great a football, and a great ambassador for the sport, he is already redefining what it means to be a Muslim living in a majority non-Muslim country, and the cultural perceptions that come with it.
He could just get on with the footy. But instead, he chooses to speak out, as he did again last night following Egypt’s 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo, a game in which he scored.
“Women must be treated with the utmost respect,” Salah wrote on Twitter. “‘No’ means ‘no’. Those things are and must remain sacred. I also believe that many who make mistakes can change for the better and shouldn’t be sent straight to the guillotine, which is the easiest way out.
“We need to believe in second chances... we need to guide and educate. Shunning is not the answer.”
It is unclear what prompted this message other than, well, the world being how it is.
Regardless, it is an important message, and one that is more clear and fully fleshed out than his last pro-women statement.
Again, he is redefining what it means to be a Muslim, both from outside of the community, and from within. Moreover, is a universal statement, one which fans the world over would do well to hear and reflect upon. And he is making the statement while Egypt hosts the AFCON, which cannot be coincidental.
Women must be treated with the utmost respect. “No” means “no”. Those things are and must remain sacred. I also believe that many who make mistakes can change for the better and shouldn’t be sent straight to the guillotine, which is the easiest way out.— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) June 26, 2019
We need to believe in second chances... we need to guide and educate. Shunning is not the answer.— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) June 26, 2019