First Muslim head coach appointed in NFL historical past

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In keeping with The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a civil rights group, Saleh would be the third Arab American head coach within the NFL after Abe Gibron and Wealthy Kotite. Each Gibron and Kotite are additionally of Lebanese origin. The Washington Post famous Saleh was additionally the primary Arab American coordinator within the league’s historical past.

With 16 years of expertise within the NFL working with Houston, Seattle, Tennessee, and San Francisco, Saleh was a sought-after particular person, with interviews with not less than four other teams.

In a narrative revealed by the Post earlier than final 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl, Saleh shared his household’s historical past of immigration from Lebanon. Saleh’s success in sports activities follows generations working in factories to supply a greater future for relations regardless of language obstacles. “For me to have the chance to teach, and sort of create one other path, has been good,” Saleh advised the Publish. “That’s fairly cool.”

In keeping with The New York Times, the tragic Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist assault pushed Saleh to observe his desires of pursuing the NFL. After Saleh’s brother David survived the incident, Saleh realized life was too quick to not give teaching an opportunity. David had been within the South Tower however was in a position to escape earlier than it collapsed.

“His love and keenness for soccer is finally why he needed to get into teaching,” David Saleh advised The Detroit News in 2020. “He simply didn’t need to depart the sport.”

Matthew Jaber Stiffler, the pinnacle of analysis on the Arab American Nationwide Museum, famous that many Lebanese Individuals, who’re majority Christian, typically don’t determine as Arab. Saleh figuring out as each Muslim and Arab in such a area is thus not only a win for Muslim illustration, however encouragement for others who could seem like him. It permits younger youngsters of shade to have position fashions in fields they could need to pursue.

 “To have anyone in a visual place, who’s proudly Arab, proudly Muslim—however that additionally he’s only a soccer coach too, when it comes right down to it—it helps to simply normalize the expertise of Muslim Individuals,” Stiffler said.

Saleh’s appointment has obtained constructive suggestions from not solely Muslim Individuals however others nationwide and globally. The appointment was welcomed by quite a few organizations together with the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The constructive information comes at a time of misery within the nation and provides hope that a greater future awaits.   

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