Egypt’s Al-Azhar strongly condemned allegedly racist chants by Chelsea fans directed at Liverpool’s Egyptian player Mohamed Salah, a Friday statement by an observatory body that belongs to the institution said.
The chants circulated on social media discriminated against the player’s identity as an “Arab Muslim”, according to the statement.
“The observatory asserts that these blatant 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 statement read.
Al-Azhar also stressed its rejection of “the culture of hatred by some Western media which have resulted in terrorist events against Muslims.”
“The world has recently witnessed the good morals and humane behaviour of Salah, considering that correcting the image of false Islam is the main foundation of good treatment and good morals,” the statement highlighted.
Chelsea and Liverpool football clubs both strongly condemned the incident in statements on their official Facebook pages.
Chelsea FC said that it “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… Such individuals are an embarrassment to the vast majority of Chelsea supporters who won’t tolerate them in their club.”
The Liverpool statement said that “his behaviour needs to be called out for what it is – unadulterated bigotry.”
It added that the club is working with Chelsea and Merseyside Police to identify the people in the video, Reuters reported.
The police added: “The language used in the Tweets is abhorrent and we are taking the reports extremely seriously.