Anthony Joshua has immersed himself in Dubai culture while on holiday here, but some of his fans aren’t happy about it…

The government of Dubai spent a lot of last year talking about tolerance. Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi was appointed the Minister of Tolerance to promote the world-first Tolerance Charter that aims to combat “bigotry, extremism and racism” in the UAE.

Remember, this is a small country where 200 nationalities live side-by-side.

But, sadly, a photo taken in Dubai this week showing a great display of tolerance is now receiving online hatred. 

British boxer IBF heavyweight title holder Anthony Joshua shared this beautiful snap of himself and two friends performing afternoon prayers in a Dubai mosque:

The 27-year-old boxer has spent the last few weeks in the UAE and says he doesn’t identify as Muslim, but that he does have an active interest in religion and believes in the centering power of prayer.

“Besides luck, hard work and talent – prayer is a solid foundation,” he captioned the Twitter picture. “It was nice to join my brother as he led through afternoon prayer.”

This tweet has since caused a stream of online anger from a small but vocal group of his fans – mostly British – calling for his deportation, his defeat against Wladimir Klitschko and saying they will no longer support him because he is a Muslim. 

We won’t repeat them verbatim because we don’t believe they deserve the airtime. 


In a recent interview Joshua (pictured left in the photo above) discussed his nuanced views on religion: “Prayer is a method practiced from ancient days, so it’s very important for us to maintain a spiritual connection.

“I don’t have a preferred religion: I’d have to do research. I was born a Christian but as I’ve grown into my own man I don’t attach myself to a religion; 100 per cent I have faith. Then it’s locking into what suits me.”

“[Prayer is] a form of meditation, isn’t it?” he added. “It’s laws of attraction, whatever you put out into the universe is what it receives, it’s just kind of putting your thoughts out into the universe.”

As Sheikh Mohammed wrote in an open letter on Linked In last year, “While we all respect opinion and discussion shared online, we cannot allow it to spill into intolerance.

“We do not differentiate between one another in the UAE, nor do we use race or nationality to discriminate against one another; we see all people as equal, as God created us. No preference or merit is given to anyone except for those who work diligently, respect our laws and constitution and contribute to our nation.”

All we can say is Marhaba Joshua, and we’re glad you seem to be having an amazing time in the city we call home…

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