Mo Salah 'ambiguous' comments on alcohol anger Egyptian fans
Liverpool star Mo Salah has caused a social media storm in his native Egypt for his response to an interview question about drinking alcohol.
Salah covered the challenges of his life as a famous Muslim man in Western society in an interview with MBC journalist Amr Adib.
In response to a tongue-in-cheek question by the Egyptian reporter on whether Salah had ever been pressured to try some wine or the "world's best champagne", Salah casually brushed the question off.
"I don't know. I feel like I've never desired it. I don't think about this a lot… People here don't push you to do something you don't want to do, and I've never been in a situation where I've been forced to drink. I myself don't want to drink and I don't want to try," he said.
"So, you've had to overcome big pressure over this issue over the years?" the presenter asked.
"It's just not a big deal for me," insisted Salah.
عمرو أديب يسأل محمد صلاح ليه ما تشرب خمر ؟— زيدان نجد (@Zidane__Najd) December 5, 2021
However, following his seemingly harmless comments, Salah faced a wave of anger from Egyptians slamming the Liverpool star for avoiding to mention that drinking is forbidden in his religion and for being not "proud enough of his Islam".
Many highlighted that drinking alcohol as unequivocally haram ("forbidden") in Islam, rather than simply being Salah's personal choice.
The social media uproar late on Sunday eventually drew a series of Facebook posts from Egypt's Dar al-Ifta, the revered Islamic Egyptian legal research institution, which reiterated the prohibition of alcohol in Islam.
Rumours circulated Salah had softened his tone out of fear of alienating European fans or jeopardising lucrative sponsorship deals with alcohol brands for his club Liverpool FC. Both are unfounded claims.
Many leapt to Salah's defence posting images of his famous "prayer" goal celebration, and pointed that he has opted out of receiving the customary bottle of champagne for his numerous Man of the Match awards.