A Muslim cleric is urging the group that governs international soccer to BAN Christian players from making the sign of the cross after scoring a goal.
A Muslim cleric from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Alarefe called on FIFA to prohibit players from tapping their stomach, chest, left shoulder then right shoulder to make a cross.
Alarefe, who is professor of religion at King Saud University in Riyadh, posted the controversial call on Twitter to his 17.4million followers, but he was quickly flooded with messages disagreeing with him.
A number of people pointed out to the Muslim scholar that many players kneel on the ground and kiss the ground in celebration of a goal, mimicking the Islamic prayer.
Alarefe 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.’
While people from all religious backgrounds, including Christianity and Islam responded to his views, many condemned the cleric, saying it incited division.
This isn’t the first attack on Christianity in world soccer. Recently, Real Madrid revealed they will not feature the traditional Christian cross on clothing sold in some Middle East countries under a new regional deal.
In 2014, Real Madrid removed the Christian cross from its crest when used by its sponsor the National Bank of Abu Dhabi .