How Arabic-tweeting AFCBell promotes Islam with football transfer window


By our sports desk

The AFC Bell, a popular Twitter handle which saw followership rose from 49,000 to more than 100,000 within 24 hours, has never tweeted in English. Followers have to rely on Artificial Intelligence-driven Twitter translation to decipher the tweets. Curiously, the handle emerged the biggest 2020 summer transfer window’s winner.

It all started with a tweet, breaking the news of Arsenal Football Club’s readiness to activate the Release Clause (RC) of its most scouted player in recent times, Ghanian international, Thomas Partey, who was donning the shirt of Laliga’s Atletico Madrid.

The Arsenal fans, who took the reputation-staking tweet by the AFC Bell with a pinch of salt, however, patiently waited for the end of the transfer window to confirm whether the person behind the handle would emerge as the hero or the real villain of the window.

But in the last 6 months, the AFC Bell suffered the persistent ringing bell of Arsenal fans’ jeers and mockery.

The final nail in the coffin of its reputation almost came when two of the most sensational transfer window experts, former BBC David Ornstein and ever-reliable Fabrizio Romano tweeted that the deal for Arsenal to add any of the club’s targets, Partey and French international, Houssem Aouar was completely off in the morning of the transfer deadline. Arsenal fans already accepted their fate. Another insipid window, when their club failed to strengthen in the most important department of its needs.

That would dramatically change in hours.

The AFC Bell wasm, however, unperturbed by the two stars’ tweets. The handle went ahead to tweet that Arsenal had already sounded Partey’s agents out about its readiness to activate the RC. And, it came to pass.

The AFC Bell’s reputation soared;  the new fans favourite was born.

“I just turned to Muslim a few hours ago. Allahu Akbar,” tweeted De Marco.

Another tweep said,” Muslims don’t lie. Everyone of you all should proclaim the testimony of faith, the faith of Abraham-a monotheistic faith..”

That’s not all. Another handle, Saliba, vowed that: “I will never doubt an Arabic speaking person ever again.”

But there are more hilarious comments, which, however, turn out to showcase approval to Islam and Arabic language, the cultural background of the mysterious person behind the handle.

“Inject the shahada into my veins, bell. My name is now Abdallah. MashaAllah” tweeted another fan.

Yet, even the popular WelBeast was proud to showcase his newfound phrase and culture. “Throughout the transfer window brother Bell kept saying in sha Allah after every Thomas Partey tweet and in sha Allah came through for him. That’s my new favourite word,” he noted.

The AFC Bell has, no doubt, thrown Arsenal fans into a frenzy of excitement on a transfer deadline day.  But it does more than that. It generates interest and attention beyond football, as Islam and its most important language, Arabic trended along with the handle.

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