Muslim Leader Slammed on Twitter After Urging FIFA to Ban Christian Players from Making Cross Sign

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A Muslim cleric has been slammed on Twitter after he called on FIFA, the international soccer governing body, to ban Christian players from making the sign of the cross after scoring a goal.
Mohammed Alarefe urged 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. AP Photo

A Muslim cleric has been slammed on Twitter after he called on FIFA, the international soccer governing body, to ban Christian players from making the sign of the cross after scoring a goal.

Mohammad Al-Arefe, a prominent Saudi religious leader and professor of religion at King Saud University in Riyadh, recently took to Twitter to make his demands: "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," he wrote.

After Al-Arefe posted the controversial call on Twitter to his 17.4 million followers, he was quickly met with a flood of criticism, notes the MailOnline.

Referencing an Egyptian footballer currently playing for Italian club Roma, one commenter replied: "I can't lie. Mohamed Salah and others kneel to pray when they score a goal and no one punishes them. Leave the sport to those who deal with it.'

Another sarcastically wrote, "The ISIS regime forbids crossing oneself; when al-Baghdadi is elected president of FIFA, we'll discuss the respected sheikh's request."

Added another: "Get out of our sport that unites Christians, Sunni and Shia on one team with their hearts one on the other. Everyone should deal with his religion and let us be. May FIFA be blessed."

FIFA
(Photo : Reuters)
Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring by holding up his arms and pointing to the sky

The radical Sunni preacher is known worldwide for his extremist views and has been banned from several countries after urging fighters to go to Syria.

"Al Arefe is on You Tube videos abusing the Shia and telling young men to fight in Syria," Tell Mama founder Fiyaz Mughal told HuffPost back in 2014, after the Muslim leader was banned from Britain. "He did this in Cairo many months ago and then landed in the UK thereafter. His fiery rhetoric and utter disdain for the Shia means that he should not set foot on the UK.

"We do not want to import the Syrian crisis in the UK. In that way, he should join those on the list barred entry from the UK."

Earlier this month, Al-Arefe was banned from Denmark for two years: "The government won't accept hate preachers coming to Denmark and let them preach against Danish society and indoctrinate listeners to commit violence against women and children, spread ideas of a caliphate and undermine our founding values," said Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg.

"I am naturally very pleased that it is now clear to everyone that these people are not welcome in Denmark."

Yousef Al-Khoei, director of the Shia Muslim Al-Khoei institution, told HuffPostUK back in 2014 Al-Arefe was "vocal in trying to create divisions." In the past, the Muslim cleric was recorded making speeches excusing wife-beating when a man needs to "discipline" his wife.

Tags : Mohammad Al-Arefe, FIFA, soccer, Christian, cross, Twitter, Islam, Muslim