Mo Farah has been inundated with racist messages after he donned a Santa’s hat and wished his followers a Merry Christmas on social media.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist was slammed for acknowledging the Christian celebration due to his Muslim faith.
Posting a festive photo on Instagram, with ‘Merry Christmas’ written on the image but no accompanying caption, Mo received a mixed response from his 667k followers.
One commented: “You are being given the name of our beloved prophet Mohamed and it is better to protect the honourable name and your religion of Islam.”
Others added: “The respect I had for you went way down. Shame bro.”
“Are you serious? You are Muslim you can’t do this, I’m sorry for you.”
“That’s what happens when Somalis got money and they forget their foundations… I think Mo you should know better and all this money and fame ain’t gonna get you nowhere when in grave alone. [sic]”
“What is wrong with him? I thought he is Muslim, this guy is lost, walaahi [I swear to God].”
However, others were quick to leap to the star’s defence, writing: “To all the ignorant Muslims getting mad – Mo’s only wishing people Merry Christmas. That doesn’t mean he celebrates Christmas, or accepts the religious aspects of Christmas, or accepts Jesus as God. Wishing people is simply just that – a wish.”
And: “Love you Mohamed, from your Somali sis. Sorry that some of our people are giving you grief over this. Allah knows best, not these keyboard warriors. I hope you and the family are well.”
The backlash comes just weeks after Muslim boxer Amir Khan received death threats after putting up a Christmas tree to surprise his three-year-old daughter, with his followers accusing him of “betraying his religion”.
Others quickly rushed to Amir’s defence – pointing out that celebrating Christmas has become more of a cultural event rather than a religious one.
Mo is yet to acknowledge the criticism that he has received and Yahoo Celeb UK have contacted his reps for comment.