Devout Muslim Sonny Bill Williams has revealed he was once asked to leave a mosque in Dubai because of his tattoos – as rumors of a fight with his bitter rival Paul Gallen are once again popular.
The 37-year-old former footy star turned boxer changed his life after converting to Islam in 2009.
Williams has found peace in religion and praises it for allowing him to be not only the best athlete he can be, but also the best husband and father.
However, the cross-code star recently revealed that he was once asked to leave a mosque because of his tattoos – which are considered haram (forbidden) by many Muslims.
“I remember the first time I ever went to a mosque in Dubai, I was told to leave because of my tattoos,” Williams wrote on Twitter.
Sonny Bill Williams, a devout Muslim, has revealed he was once asked to leave a mosque in Dubai because of his tattoos
The former footy star turned boxer changed his life after converting to Islam in 2009
“Yes, the brother did what he felt was right, but if he had just shown some empathy and understanding (took me aside and explained that I should try to cover up the tattoos if possible) then I would instead having left mosque energized and enlightened I went down a bit and none the wiser.
“This experience always stays with me when I see new reverts [people who have adopted Islam] making mistakes and criticizing people in a public space.
“Remember that no one is perfect and if we truly follow the sunnah of our beautiful prophet, our hearts and actions should always be full of empathy.”
The former All Black’s comments drew a lot of different reactions from the Muslim world, so Williams explained that he will address the matter further in a future video.
“So many comments about tattoos and Islam,” he wrote in a follow-up Tweet.
“My next YouTube video I will make about tattoos and Islam for my returning brothers. Allah makes it easy.’
Meanwhile, rumors of a fight between Williams and Gallen finally begin to gain momentum.
The The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Gallen had an informal chat with executives at Stan, with Williams agreeing to the fight — and now money is the only sticking point.
The former Sharks star believes it should be a 50-50 split, and will not accept Williams getting a bigger share.
The rumors of a fight between Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen are finally starting to gain momentum
According to reports, Gallen (pictured beating Lucas Browne) had an informal chat with Stan executives about the fight
Williams announced earlier this year that he would not retire from boxing after a brutal knockout loss to Mark Hunt, but will not be fighting Gallen – calling him a ‘narcissist’ who he ‘can’t stand’.
“I can’t really stand him with that guy, the narcissistic type of guy,” Williams explained.
“For me, guys like that aren’t in my circle. It’s not that I don’t respect what he’s done in the sport, but as a man I would never say we would be friends or allow such a man in my circle.
“Am I willing to give him a shelter and make some money out of it? Naturally. But he’s retired, so good for him. He’s done a good job, he’s come out and said he’s made all this money and whatever it is, so good for him.”
Gallen, whose last fight was a victory over former Maroons star Justin Hodges, was stunned by Williams’ latest comments and says the former All Black has no right to judge him as a person.
In addition, Gallen believes that if they ever stepped into the ring together, he would be the biggest draw and should receive more of the earnings.
“He says he’s the draw and it’s payday for everyone else. I’m not fighting him unless I get the lion’s share. I’m the one coming out of retirement, I’m the one who’s had bigger fights,” Gallen told Wide World of Sports.
Gallen says he was surprised by SBW’s comments about him and believes he’s the biggest draw if they ever do the fight
‘I don’t know what to think about it all. As a person who feels that he is so saintly and kind, I am simply amazed by his comments.
“I never passed judgment on him as a person. The worst thing I’ve said about him is that he’s afraid to fight me.’