Muslim cleric demands ban on ‘sign-of-the-cross’ by Christian players

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World football governing body, FIFA has been called upon to ban Christian players from making the sign of the cross after scoring a goal or for celebrating victory.

A Muslim cleric from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Alarefe made the call, urging FIFA to write it into the game’s laws that players be prohibited from tapping their stomach, chest, left shoulder then right shoulder to make a cross.

Alarefe, who is a professor of religion studies at King Saud University in Riyadh, made the call via his Twitter handle.

However, some of his followers quickly flooded his message with disagreement.

A number of people pointed out to the Muslim scholar that a huge amount of players kneel on the ground and kiss the floor in celebration of a goal, mimicking the Islamic prayer.

Alarefe wrote via @MuhammadAlarefe, ‘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.”

While people of all religious backgrounds, including Christianity and Islam reacted to his opinion, many condemned the cleric, saying it incited division.

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