Mohamed Salah has contributed to a decrease in hate crimes and islamophobia in Liverpool, according to a report from the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL).
Researchers - based at Stanford University and in Zurich - found the Egyptian’s excellent performances for Liverpool since joining the club in 2017, culminating in Saturday’s Champions League final triumph against Tottenham Hotspur, coincided with a marked decrease in anti-Muslim posts on Twitter.
The report, titled ‘Can Exposure to Celebrities Reduce Prejudice? The Effect of Mohamed Salah on Islamophobic Behaviors and Attitudes’ was published last month.
“We find that Merseyside county (home to Liverpool F.C.) experienced a 18.9% drop in hate crimes relative to a synthetic control, while no similar effect was found for other types of crime,” the report claimed.
“We also find that Liverpool F.C. fans halved their rates of posting anti-Muslim tweets (a drop from 7.2% to 3.4% of tweets about Muslims) relative to fans of other top-flight English soccer clubs.
“The survey experiment suggests that these results may be driven by increased familiarity with Islam. Our findings indicate that positive exposure to outgroup role models can reveal new information that humanizes the outgroup writ large.”
Salah has been a revelation since moving to Merseyside from Roma. The 26-year-old scored his 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool in April, reaching the landmark faster than any other player in the club’s history.
He finished third in the 2018 FIFA Best Awards, which acknowledge the world’s finest players. Salah scored Liverpool’s opening goal in their victory over Spurs, helping the Reds become champions of Europe for a sixth time.
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