Issue 282, Friday 26 October 2012 - 10 Dhu al-Hijjah 1433
Lineker mocks Muslim players praying
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Gary Lineker said Montpellier stars Ait-Fana and Younes Belhanda ‘ate grass’ when they bowed down to pray a gesture is often used by Muslim players to celebrate,
Gary Lineker has been forced to apologise after ridiculing two Muslim footballers during a match commentary on Al Jazeera TV.
When the players celebrated a goal by dropping to their knees and bowing their heads in a prayer position, Lineker said they “ate grass”. The gesture is often used by Muslim players to celebrate.
The gaffe was made during a Champions League game on October 3 between Schalke and Montpellier when discussing the French side’s opening goal.
Lineker said: “A terrific effort from Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass….as you do.”
Viewers saw images of Ait-Fana, 23, and Younes Belhanda, 25, adopt the Muslim prayer position known as Sajdah. The comment attracted criticism online.
One viewer wrote on Twitter: ‘Lineker’s comment about Muslims [is a] very stupid remark and [one of] sheer ignorance.’
Lineker insisted that he did not realise what they were doing.