Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has reportedly donated a large amount of his own money to help rebuild a church destroyed by a deadly fire in his native Egypt.
At least 41 people died in Giza, which is across the Nile from the capital Cairo, after a fire broke out on the weekend. The tragedy struck as an estimated 1,000 Coptic Christian worshippers gathered for Mass at the Abu Sifin church on Sunday. The fire, which officials believed was started by an electrical fault in an air conditioning unit, blocked an exit and caused a stampede. CNN reported that at least 18 children were among the dead.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered his “sincere condolences to the families of the innocent victims that have passed on to be with their Lord in one of his houses of worship”. He ordered the armed forces to rebuild the church – a process that will now be aided by Salah.
According to Egyptian outlet OnTime Sports, Salah has donated three million Egyptian dollars, which equates to around £129,706, to the cause. The Liverpool forward, who was born in Nagrig, in the north of Egypt, is no stranger to helping out charitable causes, both in England and his home country.
The Sunday Times ’ 2022 charitable list rates him as the eighth most generous person in the UK. The newspaper estimates that he has recently given away some £2.5million – equivalent to six per cent of his estimated £41m wealth.
One of his most notable donations came in 2019, when he gave away £2.4m to the National Cancer Institute in Cairo after it was severely damaged by a car bomb. Salah has also helped build a hospital, school, youth centre and ambulance unit in Nagrig, as well as providing five acres of land for a waste treatment plant, allowing residents to have a safe source of clean water.
Salah is estimated to have donated more than £400,000 to help his hometown. Maher Shetia, the mayor of Nagrig, paid tribute to Salah’s generosity back in 2017. “Salah highlighted his small village on the international map,” said Shetia. “He also built a charity and will build a school that costs millions. This is in addition to his donations to Basioun hospital with a complete ventilation room, incubations and an ambulance unit.”
“Salah comes to the village when possible and walks among the people and takes photos with them so modestly,” said Salah’s cousin Abadah Saeed Ghali in 2017. “All Egyptians, not only those of Nagrig or Gharbiya province, are proud of him.”
The 30-year-old’s donations don’t stop there, either. He is also reported to have bought gym equipment, paid for couples to get married and presented youth football trophies in Nagrig.
Salah also donated £26,612 to the Association of Veteran Egyptian Players to help former footballers who have fallen on hard times after retiring from the game.