A Muslim man was abused by a middle-aged man, who said: “You haven’t come to bomb the place have you?” and then laughed, as they queued to purchase tickets for the Carabao Cup clash between Salford City and Leeds United.
The incident took place outside of Salford City’s Peninsula Stadium on August 11 at around 10:00 am GMT.
Speaking to Tell MAMA, he consented to have his story shared anonymously to raise awareness of the incident, reported the Islamophobic and anti-Muslim abuse to staff who are investigating.
Tell MAMA reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police on their behalf.
The Muslim man felt targeted due to his beard, ethnicity, and thobe, which demonstrates the intersections between racialisation and religiosity. Non-Muslim men have faced racialised abuse and violence on the misperception that their appearance, including their ethnicity and beard, were indicators of the Islamic faith.
He described the perpetrator as a white male, who was in his mid-to-late fifties.
A spokesperson for Salford City spoke of their “immense disappointment”, and, in a statement to Tell MAMA, said: “We are hugely disappointed to learn of this, and it is being dealt with in cooperation with the relevant authorities. Salford City does not tolerate the use of racist or abusive language or behaviour and we will take relevant action against the person responsible in conjunction with Greater Manchester Police”.
Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination charity, reported a 43 per cent rise in reports of racist abuse in English football, with 274 reports when compared to the previous reporting cycle, with an additional 99 reports of racist abuse online.
Racist incidents continue to rise, with 274 incidents reported to Kick It Out during the season – an alarming 43% increase on the previous campaign.
An additional 99 reports were made regarding racist abuse online.
— Kick It Out (@kickitout) July 24, 2019
Kick It Out also measures faith-based discrimination, which includes Islamophobia and antisemitism, rose by 75 per cent, with 63 reports compared to 36 reports the previous year. The charity said on Twitter that such a rise was “a significant cause for concern”.
Recent examples of Muslim footballers being targeted for racist abuse online, including Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban were both subjects of criminal investigations, with 32-year-old Gary Hyland pleading guilty to the abuse of Salah last week.
Photographs of Grabban and Salah were doctored to include suicide vests.
Show Racism the Red Card, a charity which works to counter racism, issued a statement late last month after a small section of Newcastle United supporters made pro-Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) chants during a pre-season friendly with Hibernian FC.