English fans dressed as Crusaders have been turned away from World Cup matches in Qatar because their uniforms are considered “offensive to Muslims”.
Two knights in disguise were allegedly seen on social media trying to get through security ahead of England’s match with Iran on Monday while wearing helmets bearing St George’s crosses.
The two men, who also carried new swords, were allegedly escorted by four officers at the security gate before kick-off.Read:Jude Bellingham: Manchester United target Borussia Dortmund midfielder next summer – Man United News And Transfer News
A similar experience could await those attending tonight’s game against the USA, as The Times reports that Three Lions fans have been banned from dressing up as Christian Raiders.
It comes as England fans, who have long supported the team dressed as St George – the nation’s patron saint – at previous World Cups, find themselves in trouble for doing so this time around.
FIFA and anti-racism groups say that wearing the Crusader uniform in an Arab country such as Qatar could be considered offensive given the historical context.
It seems that some residents of Doha were disturbed by the choice of dress, given that the religious wars between 1095 and 1291 revolved around Islamic control over lands and holy places.Read:Benjamin Mendy trial: Court hears woman had ‘sex with Jack Grealish’ and another man on night she was ‘raped by Mendy’s friend’ | Football News
England fans dressed as crusaders with chain mail, shields and swords are stopped by security outside a stadium in Qatar.
An England fan dressed as the Crusader kneels at a security check at the World Cup in Qatar
Prince William tells the England team to avoid social media
Sam Greenhill, Senior Correspondent in Doha
England manager Gareth Southgate last night revealed Prince William’s advice to the team – avoid social media.
He said that the heir to the throne gave invaluable advice when they met before traveling to Qatar.
Southgate said the team was following his advice to focus on matches rather than the headlines and social media distractions.
He said: “We really like our base camp – we don’t have TVs in particular, other than at matches.
Of course I’m sure boys catch things on social media and the internet but we’ve talked from time to time about the importance of ignoring this stuff.Read:‘Proper team player’ – Souness praises Spurs man coming good under Conte – Spurs Web
“We actually had the future king come and talk to the lads about that, a point we couldn’t have better paid him to say, about dealing with social media.”
“These players are putting our country on the map – they are restoring our respect on the world stage and we need to keep doing that,” Southgate added, as he greeted his team ahead of today’s England-USA match.
A crusader spoke to TalkTV after England’s 6-2 win over Iran on Monday.
The problem, said the unnamed man, is in places like Qatar, the fans are the heart of the game. We make the game.
“It’s not the companies, they help financially in the background, it’s us the fans who make football and we’re the football.”
He said they stay in the fan park and pay £250 a night.
FIFA said: “Crusader fashion in the Arab context can be offensive to Muslims. That is why the anti-discrimination colleagues asked fans to wear things inside out or change their clothes.
Kick It Out, an anti-racism campaigning group in football, said: “Certain uniforms, such as fancy dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar.
“The outfit, complete with swords and crosses, is offensive because of the Crusaders’ history of rape, slaughter, and occupation of Arab lands,” researcher Robert Carter wrote on Twitter.
But some England fans in Qatar pointed out that an apparently jubilant Saudi fan was allowed to raise a three-foot sword in jubilation among the crowd outside the stadium after his team’s shock victory over Argentina.
The most famous Crusades took place between 1096 and 1291 when Christian armies fought to capture Jerusalem and the surrounding area from Muslim rule.
Footage from Qatar before and after the England match showed the group dressed as knights singing “God Save the King” and walking up the stairs on public transport. Some locals seemed shocked by their choice of outfits – others asked them to take selfies.
Meanwhile, bars in Doha are asking fans in traditional Arab robes and headscarves to remove them, fearing it will offend locals and insult Islam.
The garments have become popular with fans and are widely sold in the colors of the 32 nations participating in the tournament.
The latest incident comes after days of mounting criticism of Qatari police’s violent treatment of fans as the row over LGBT symbols continues in the Gulf state.
Qatari officials have repeatedly stated that “everyone is welcome” at the World Cup, despite the fact that same-sex relations are still illegal in the country.
England and other teams planning to wear ‘OneLove’ armbands to make a statement against discrimination during the World Cup in Qatar have also been said to have been ‘blackmailed’ with the looming threat of ‘enormous sporting sanctions’.
Fans and journalists from multiple countries reported rainbow-themed items, including T-shirts, bucket hats, and flags, were confiscated by officials.
Despite Fifa’s insistence that “everyone is welcome” in the Gulf country, fans, journalists and LGBT groups have faced an authoritarian-style crackdown with rainbow kits being confiscated in stadiums.
The sale of beer was also banned in stadiums at 11 o’clock by Qatari officials – leaving many fans angry and FIFA red-faced.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, demanded that all visitors “respect our culture”, as fans are expected to conform to the Gulf country’s rules and cultural practices.
What were the crusades?
The Crusades were a series of religious wars between 1095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders attempted to claim the Near East.
It is known that nobles led the Crusades, but historical records lack details of the ordinary soldiers who traveled to, lived in, and died in the Near East.
Pope Urban II began the First Crusade (1096-1102) to help the Christian Byzantine Empire, which was under attack by the Muslim Seljuk Turks.
As a result, the Europeans captured Jerusalem in 1099 and the Muslims quickly united against the Christian invasion.
The Muslims firmly took control of Jerusalem by 1291 and it remained in Muslim hands until the 20th century.
The Crusades paved the way for many knightly religious military orders, including the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, and the Knights Hospitaller.
These groups defended the Holy Land and protected pilgrims traveling to and from the region.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars between 1095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders attempted to claim the Near East. It is known that nobles led the Crusades, but historical records lack details of ordinary soldiers (file photo)