A man who posted racist tweets about the Liverpool footballer Mo Salah has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Gary Hyland, 32, from Bootle in Merseyside, joked about the Egyptian striker praying to Mecca at half-time and sent altered images of the squad praying to Allah during an online chat.
A supporter then asked him: “What’s the issue with Muslims lad? Can you even articulate it?”
Hyland, who is thought to be a fan of rival club Everton, then sent a photograph of the player with a suicide vest superimposed onto the player’s body, as well as making racist remarks about Salah and sending more images that appeared to poke fun at people praying to Allah.
The tweets from 6 August were reported to Merseyside Police, and two days later Hyland was arrested at his home.
Hyland later said to officers: “I know I’ll get charged. It was me.”
Earlier in August, he pleaded guilty to racially/religiously aggravated intentional harassment and obstructing an officer in the execution of his duty.
On Friday, he was handed a six-week jail term suspended for 12 months, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Sefton magistrates also told him to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and a fortnight of Rehabilitiation Activity Requirement, which includes going on a Promoting Human Dignity course.
Angela Conlan, of Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: “He pleaded guilty and admitted what he’d done was stupid. These sorts of remarks fuel racial hatred and are extremely offensive to people from the race or religion that they are aimed at.
“Mohamed Salah does not deserve to be the object of abuse and neither does any person in a civilised society. The tweets were sent in the early hours of the morning and Hyland turned a discussion into a racist rant.
“That is not acceptable. Let this be a lesson to everyone that words can hurt and society has standards that must be upheld.”
Everton previously condemned the fan’s tweets “in the strongest terms”.