8 Common Misconceptions About Mohamed Salah | Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah is one of the stars from Egypt's al-Azhar University, who has made himself a household name. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Salah is currently with AC Milan and has become something of a star in the world of football. It all started at the University of Al-Karaouine when he impressed coach Hicham Diouf with his skills on the pitch. After moving on to Watford and then onto AC Milan, Salah made headlines once more when he sparked a Milan comeback by scoring in their 3-1 win over Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup final. However, what fans are unaware of is that this youngster has a very interesting background.

Born in Alexandria, Mohammed Salah is a devout Muslim whose family is from Morocco. He is described as being extremely religious and has been brought up studying Islam at the mosque. According to reports, Salah is particularly passionate about the impact religion has on football, with the sport being a direct link to his faith. The youngster grew up going to the local mosque for Friday prayers and attending various events hosted by the imam. Consequently, football may have played a huge part in the way Salah sees life and football – in general – may even have inspired him to become a professional player.

However, there is little evidence to suggest that Salah regards his religion or indeed his chosen profession as any sort of source of motivation. While he may have attended mosque a number of times since moving to Milan, there is no evidence to suggest that he follows any specific type of religion and there is also no evidence that he is particularly keen on football. While his attitude towards religion may not be especially religious, it is clear that Salah loves football and sees it as a means of achieving a variety of goals. In fact, football may well be seen as the key to his personal and professional goals.

The first thing to note is that Salah is by no means alone. As we all know, Egypt is an extremely large country with a wide range of different religions and beliefs. For instance, Islam and Christianity are major influences on the population and Salah's footballing hero status is not an exception. However, the extent to which Egyptian culture would allow someone to follow their own religion – or indeed adopt another religion – is probably unfathomable.

To play football in Egypt would require permission – normally through the Football Association – and it may be this factor which has caused concern. If you follow Egyptian football then you will probably already be aware that the authorities in Egypt have been cracking down on various forms of discrimination, including against foreign players. There has been some speculation that Mohammed Salah's inclusion in the Ghana side may be a direct bid to gain a wider international playing career. Such a move would obviously encourage more footballers to follow in his footsteps and it would be reasonable to speculate that the number of foreign players in Egypt's top leagues could rise significantly over the next few years.

Salah's religious convictions may also give some people the impression that he might be trying to break the hold that foreign players have on the country's footballing talent. He has been quoted as saying that he is not a Muslim by the Islamic religion but there is no evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case. According to some scholars, those who follow Sufism (a form of Islam closely related to Islam) believe that players who have been baptised are automatically disqualified from playing football for Islam because they are bound by the stipulations of the religion to be modest. It is not known whether Salah actually believes this, but it would seem to be an attempt to play down any association with the Islamic religion and to appeal to all parts of the footballing community.

Despite the apparent conflict of interest between the religious beliefs of Mohammed Salah and his desire to pursue a football career in Egypt, it may be fair to say that the recent flare up in soccer fixtures in Egypt is not about religion at all. Rather, it is probably a case of simple frustration: The team desperately want a goal against Watford and may feel that this will provide them with the winning goal. They are therefore attempting to play for their national pride and to portray themselves as a footballing team who are worthy of top football status. Perhaps the real issue here is that Egyptian football is in a sorry state of flux. The different parties that are currently in control of the country want to demonstrate to the world that they are not simply obedient servants to a foreign, rather decadent, power, but they are determined to build a successful, modern and vibrant nation.

In short, those Egyptians who believe that the current situation in Egypt is a result of a divine intervention may well be right. But given the fact that they are so close to achieving their national goal, the rest of the footballing world should consider whether their methods are compatible with the fundamentals of a modern football culture. If it is not, they may find themselves watching from the sidelines as a team that appears to be possessed by the devil himself! And that is probably something of a good thing. After all, religion, in all its many guises, doesn't stand a chance against common sense.

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