Tuesday, May 31 2016

Lineker gaffe on Muslim football players

The Huffington Post, Independent, Daily Mail and the Sun have all reported on an embarrassing gaffe by football commentator, Gary Lineker, who described French footballer Karim Ait-Fana who was prostrating on the pitch as ‘eating grass’.

From the Huffington Post:

“Gary Lineker accidentally caused uproar on Al Jazeera TV after describing the actions of two Muslim players, who had adopted the traditional Islamic prayer position, as "eating grass".

“During Wednesday night’s Champions League game between Schalke and Montpellier, Lineker discussed Karim Ait-Fana's first goal for the French side, saying: "A terrific effort from Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass ... as you do."

“Ait-Fana, with teammate Younes Belhanda, adopted the Sajda, with their foreheads pressed on the ground.

“Lineker apologised on Twitter for the comment, stating that “I’m sorry but I’m not aware of every player’s religion”.

“Imam Ajmal Masroor told Goal.com: "It's a stupid remark and sheer ignorance. This is very unprofessional from a football legend who is supposed to be a role model.

“"He should apologise or be sacked by Al Jazeera. If someone makes the gesture of the cross and a commentator mocked them I would deem that equally offensive."

Given Lineker's extensive career in professional football and later as a pundit, and due increasing diversity of clubs in the UK, the ignorance demonstrated in his remarks is nothing short of shocking.

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