A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Alarefe, has called on FIFA to make it an offence for players to make the sign of the cross after scoring goals.
The professor of religion at King Saud University in Riyadh, posted the controversial call on Twitter to his 17.4million followers.
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In the post, Alarefe urged the world’s football governing body to write it into the game’s laws that players are prohibited from tapping their stomach, chest, left shoulder then right shoulder to make a cross.
He wrote: ‘I’ve seen video clips of athletes, soccer players running, shooting and when they win they make the symbol of the cross on their chests and my question is if FIFA’s rules forbid this.’
The post sparked controversy as many commentators disagreed with him.
Not few people pointed out to Alarefe that a huge amount of players kneel on the ground and kiss the floor in celebration of a goal, mimicking the Islamic prayer.
‘I can’t lie. Mohamed Salah and others kneel to pray when they score a goal and no one punishes them. Leave the sport to those who deal with it,’ one social media user. Sultan Alhusni replied the Muslim scholar.