play Xherdan Shaqiri insists that he was not aware of the identity of the Imam before taking the picture (Getty Images)
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Inter Milan forward Xherdan Shaqiri is in the news for posing for a photo with an Imam during recent visit to Kosovo.

The former Bayern Munich forward who is now a target of Stoke City posed for a picture with a radical cleric and terror suspect Shefqet Krasniqi during a visit to his home country of Kosovo.

Krasniqi, who is imam of the city's largest mosque, was one of 15 arrested as part of a US-backed operation last September on suspicion of terrorism and inciting racial hatred.

They were suspected of trying to recruit Islamic jihadists to fight in Syria but later released.

In the photo, Shaqiri is seen smiling and shaking hands with Krasniqi but the Switzerland International insists that he was unaware of the identity of the Imam before taking the photo.

"A picture of the imam Shefqet Krasniqi and myself has caused a lot of unnecessary fuss," the 23-year-old said through a Facebook post.

"He approached me and asked for a photo, the same as thousands of other people have done. I posed for one as it would have been rude to refuse his request.

"I did not know that the imam was linked to terrorism. I can't check the character of every fan who wants to take a photo of me.

"We Shaqiris are observant Muslims, but we are a long way from everything extreme."

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