Mesut Ozil,a German Muslim footballer, kissed a piece of bread thrown at him by Atletico Madrid fans.
The incident happened during Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with the Spaniards in the Europa League semi-final at the Emirates.
The piece of bread was thrown when he was preparing to take a corner kick. Instead of kicking it away, he did an unexpected thing because it is against Muslim culture to waste any food.
Ozil picked it up, kissed and placed it on his forehead. The gesture was a mark of gratitude and thanks for being given the food. Ozil’s reaction brought a huge cheer from the away fans who had thrown the bread.
Ozil, a third-generation Turkish-German, is a practicing Muslim and recites from the Holy Qur’an before his matches.
In one of his interviews, Ozil had said, “I always do that before I go out. I pray and my teammates know that they cannot talk to me during this brief period.”
He observes fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan, but he has admitted that: “Because of my job I cannot follow Ramadan properly. I do it only the few days I can, only when I have a free day. But other than that it’s impossible, because you have to drink and eat a lot to stay at peak fitness.” In May 2016, he performed Umrah.
His new deal, believed to be worth £350,000-a-week, was signed in January and will keep him at the Arsenal until 2021.—Agencies