Israel detains soccer fans over anti-Muslim slogans



The Associated Press

Published — Monday 28 January 2013

Last update 28 January 2013 1:31 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

JERUSALEM: Israeli police have arrested three soccer fans for chanting anti-Muslim slogans at a game while protesting the Beitar Jerusalem team's intention to sign two Muslim players.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says two suspects were fined and banned from the stadium for the rest of the season. The additional suspect was scheduled to appear in court yesterday.
Fans unfurled signs alluding to the team's unofficial tradition of not signing Arab or Muslim players. Beitar fans have been punished in the past for similar behavior.
The Beitar club is a bastion of Israel’s political right-wing and the only leading soccer team in the country never to have signed an Arab player because of fan pressure.
A Muslim player, Nigerian defender Ibrahim Nadalla, was on the team briefly in 2005 but left after experiencing consistent hostility from its supporters.
“I was shocked by the racism displayed in the Beitar Jerusalem stands yesterday against having Muslim or Arab players on the team,” Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said yesterday.
“We cannot ignore these displays of racism which not long ago were directed — and are still being directed — toward the Jewish people,” he wrote on Twitter.
Police at the match arrested three supporters on suspicion of incitement, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The Israel Football Association (IFA) said it would take disciplinary action against the club. In a ruling against the team a year ago, an IFA court said that Beitar Jerusalem “had not made an honest effort to combat fans’ racist chants.”
Beitar Jerusalem is owned by Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak. He said he would not be deterred from bringing the two Chechens, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, from Russian premier league club Terek Grozny to Israel later in the week.
Gaydamak told Israeli Army Radio the “small group of so-called supporters” of Beitar Jerusalem “do not represent the general opinion of the Israeli public, and they should not be allowed to win.”
Arab citizens make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population of 7.8 million and no other Israeli club, many of whom have Arab players, has ever effectively barred them. Arab players have long been included in Israel’s national team.
Beitar Jerusalem is now in fourth place in the Premier League, a position that could earn it a place in European club play next season.
Rifaat Turk, the first Arab to play for Israel’s national team during an international career from 1976 to 1986, said Beitar Jerusalem’s fans had shown “wanton racism.” He called on the IFA to take firm action against the club.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

Arab News Editor in Chief Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi hosted a banquet for editors in chief of local print and online publications, Shoura Council members, representative of the Ministry of Culture and Information, prominent writers and columnists in Je...
JEDDAH: Health workers from Riyadh’s National Guard hospital would not be allowed to perform Haj this year, or work at the holy sites, the Ministry of Health has announced.Hail Al-Abdali, head of the ministry’s infection control unit, was reportedly...
RIYADH: Construction on the multibillion-riyal Riyadh Metro is well under way with several giant drilling machines working overtime to ensure that underground tunnels for the project are completed on schedule.The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA)...
JEDDAH: Officials from the Saudi Ministry of Haj have been holding meetings with their counterparts from Arab and South Asian nations in preparation for this year’s pilgrimage.Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Nafei, assistant deputy minister of Haj and in char...
RIYADH: Four polling stations in Tabuk have stopped registering voters for the Dec. 12 municipal elections in the region.Ibrahim bin Ahmed Al-Ghabban, undersecretary at the Tabuk municipality and member of the local committee for the election of a mu...
JEDDAH: Many prospective candidates running for seats on the country’s municipal councils have been using Twitter to boost their election campaigns.Many have been using religious expressions in their messages, such as “In the name of God,” and “If He...
DAMMAM: There has been a flurry of activity on the Kingdom’s highways as service companies race to meet the Jan. 19 deadline for the revamp of dilapidated gas stations.The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has previously handed out rehabilitati...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Germany have signed an agreement on mutual protection of classified information to provide a legal framework for enhanced cooperation in the defense sector. The pact was signed by Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Aish, assistant mini...
JEDDAH: While Saudi Arabia has now arrested the main suspect in the 1996 bombing of the Alkhobar Towers residence at an American military base in the country, the hunt continues for three others, according to reports in the local media on Thursday.Ah...
AL-AHSA: Located in the western part of Al-Qara Mountain is a workshop for the pottery industry, molding clay in plastic forms that are given permanency by the use of intense heat. This art form became one of the major attractions in Al-Ahsa Archaeol...
RIYADH: A newborn baby boy, who appeared to be just hours old, was found lying in the grass, covered with a blanket, in an abandoned field in Jazan on Tuesday morning.According to local residents, a family passing by heard the baby crying and rushed...
TAIF: Several schools in Taif have recorded a lack of schoolbooks for primary and intermediate classes for the first time in 15 years, a local publication reported.This has resulted in many boys and girls not turning up for classes. A source said tha...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani said that directives from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to protect the rights of citizens and public properties are being strictly implemented.“All legal measures are being taken to hold accou...
RIYADH: Najran region has retained its veritable unique cultural heritage and attractions, which include old mud buildings constructed some 300 years ago.While the laid-back ambience in many areas is gone due to modern life brought about by contempor...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, under Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s wise leadership, has witnessed an accelerated pace of economic growth with improved living standard of its people, says Uzbekistan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Alisher Kadirov....

Stay Connected

Facebook