Lineker's 'eating grass' gaffe leaves Muslims fuming
Retired England football star Gary Lineker has been accused of insulting Islam after he joked that two praying Muslim players were "eating grass".
The TV presenter was bombarded with abuse after his gaffe during Champions League coverage for Arabic channel Al Jazeera, following which, he quickly issued an apology to his 1.1million followers on Twitter.
"I'm sorry but I'm not aware of every player's religion," the Daily Star quoted Lineker, as tweeting.
Former England striker Lineker, 51, was commenting on a goal by French club Montpellier against the German side Schalke, in which Muslim players, Karim Ait-Fana and Younes Belhanda had crouched over and bowed their heads to the ground to celebrate.
"A terrific effort from Karim Ait-Fana, who scored from just outside the area and then ate grass...as you do," Lineker had said.
The comment reportedly sparked anger from Muslims on Twitter and an influential British-based cleric called it "sickening".
Imam Ajmal Masroor also called for Lineker to be sacked by Al Jazeera.
He said: "It's a stupid remark and sheer ignorance."