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Muslim scholar urges FIFA to ban players from making the sign of the cross after scoring

by Tola Mbakwe

Alarefe tweeted his criticism of the act to his 17.5 million followers on 5 May. He questioned FIFA if players making religious signs on the pitch should be legal.

Translated from Arabic, Alarefe's tweet read: "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."

Alarefe, who is professor of religion at King Saud University in Riyadh, drew more than 550 responses from his tweet.

Many of the replies pointed out that some players mimic the Muslim prayer after they score by kneeling down.

@SirFanciful tweeted: "Even Muslim players celebrate their own way. FIFA brings us together."

Other Twitter users claimed Alarefe was trying to incite division in the sport and the topic should be left alone.

Translated from Arabic, @k_alhamadani tweeted: "Muslims bow down to celebrate victory in the same forums,  where is the problem? Sports gathered all the spectra under the banner of understanding and peace."

Also translated from Arabic, @tawfiq114 tweeted: "I think the forbidden racist slogan and sectarian and political issues of the conflict but the manifestations of religiosity in the personal expression of joy is not."


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