Since the arrival of Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah in Liverpool FC, hate crime in the region has fallen by 19% and anti-Muslim comments by 50%, according to a Stanford University study.

The study conducted by the university’s Immigration Policy Lab has found that hate crimes in Merseyside region, the county that houses Liverpool Football Club, have witnessed a drop of 18.9% after the signing of Salah in the club. Also, anti-Muslim tweets by Liverpool fans have halved compared to the other major English football clubs.  “Taken together, the evidence points to Salah’s rise in prominence causing a decrease in hate crimes in Liverpool FC’s home county,” the authors wrote in the study.

Added with the public declaration of his faith, the study also revealed that the footballer’s charismatic personality and ability as a player have helped football fans to humanise Muslims. Salah’s family-man image and down-to-earth character have countered the narrative of some that Islam is threatening. Also, the study reveals that his positive representation by Liverpool have gone well within the Muslim community.

Between 2015 and 2018, the study analysed the data of 25 police departments, 15 million tweets from followers of well-known English football clubs and comments in the footballer’s social media handles. Pro-Muslim chants during Liverpool’s games referring to Salah were also taken into consideration as evidence that attitudes towards Muslims are changing. “Few Muslims in British public life have been as open about their Muslim identity, and are as well-liked, as Salah,” the research said.

Mohamed Salah joined Liverpool in July 2017 and found himself in the middle of a great run in his first season for the club. In the 2018-19 season, the attacker, despite failing to achieve a good start, bagged an impressive number of 27 goals. He has played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s successful Champion’s League campaign this year including a strike in the final. In his short stint at the Merseyside club the forward has already found the back of nets on 71 occasions in just 104 games and is already deemed as a club legend.