The owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club has received threats from fans after signing on a player with a Muslim-sounding name.
Ali Mohamed, a player of Nigerian origin who self-professes to be Christian, will transfer from Maccabi Netanya, with the team being paid $2.5 million to give Mohamed up.
But some followers of Beitar, known for its support by some far-right fans, have expressed outrage at the very notion of the name “Mohamed” being part of the club’s roster.
Owner Moshe Hogeg said he had received threats to his phone, but claimed he was unconcerned by them or by Mohamed’s religion or origin, and vowed to sue any who threatened him.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of reactions are supportive, encouraging and wonderful,” he told Channel 12 news. “There are a few more problematic responses. These people who got confused will be sued.
“What does it matter [what his religion is]? He’s really a great player… It’s irrelevant and it doesn’t matter.”
Meanwhile, the the ultra-nationalist “La-Familia” faction of Beitar fans said, “After countless inquiries and checks regarding the identity of the player Ali, we hereby announce we have no problem whatsoever with this player, since he is a devout Christian. But we do have a problem with his name.
“We will make sure that his name is changed so that the name Mohamed is not heard at [Beitar’s] Teddy Stadium.”