The Saudi Arabian soccer team refused to line up for a minute’s silence for the London terror victims on Thursday night because it is not in keeping with their culture.
A spokesman for Football Federation Australia explained they were told a minute of silence was ‘not in keeping with Saudi culture’ ahead of the match.
Fans were left outraged at the display ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide.
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The Saudi Arabian soccer team failed to line up for a minute’s silence for the London terror victims on Thursday night
Fans were left outraged at the display ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide
Pictures show the Australian team lined up at the halfway mark, with the Saudi players ignoring the gesture as they get in formation to start the game.
Saudi players on the bench refused to stand for the minute’s silence.
A spokesperson from the Football Federation Australia told Daily Mail Australia they had been advised prior to the match that the Saudi team would not be taking part.
‘The FFA sought agreement from the Asian Football Confederation and the Saudi national team to hold a minute’s silence in memory of those lost in Saturday night’s terror bombings in London and in particular the two Australian women,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Both the AFC and the Saudi team agreed that the minute of silence could be held.
‘The FFA was further advised by Saudi team officials that this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field.
Saudi team officials said it was not in their culture to observe silences, yet club team Al-Ahli – many of whose players represent the national side – stood motionless before a match against Barcelona to remember the footballers who died in the Chapecoense air disaster
Another Gulf nation, the United Arab Emirates, observed a minute’s silence before a polo match in 2014
‘The local broadcaster, FOXSPORTS, was informed of this prior to the minute’s silence taking place.’
Australian and British football fans on social media were furious, and lashed out against the Saudi team.
‘Minutes silence for London terror, Saudi players wandering around like they don’t give a f***, Saudi fans shouting the whole time #AUSvKSA,’ a man named Adam tweeted.
Others called for official measures to be taken against the team.
‘I hope FFA call out Saudi Arabia on the clear lack of respect shown prior to KO. Not participating in the minutes silence is disgusting,’ user PG3_12 wrote.
However, some Saudi fans claimed it was not within Islamic culture to take a moment of silence to respect the dead.
‘They come from a different culture. They just don’t understand the point of being silence for a minute to show sadness.. we never do it in KSA,’ one fan wrote.’
Australia had approached FIFA and the AFC to request the minute of silence, which was approved prior to the game
It is understood Saudi Arabia informed FFA they would not be taking part on Thursday night, but prior to the minute of silence
While Australian players on the bench stood for the minute (pictured), Saudi players on the bench remained seated
Several people took to Twitter to vent their anger at Saudi Arabia’s refusal to observe a minute’s silence
Islamic sheikh: ‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs’
An Islamic imam has suggested the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute’s silence for the London terror victims because they believe ‘it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer’.
Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a ‘lie’ to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argues the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men.
‘They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam – which governs Saudi Arabia – it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi (pictured) says it is a ‘lie’ to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence
‘Their response suggests that within Muslim culture they don’t remember the dead with a moment of silence. This is a lie.’
Sheikh Tawhidi says under Islam Sharia law it is not ‘wrong’ or a ‘sin’ for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim.
‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the ‘infidels’,’ he said.
Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been ‘ridiculed’ back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack.
But this may not be the view of every player within the Saudi team, he pointed out.
The majority of the Saudi side are Muslim, and to honour the dead, it is understood they pray, give to charity and speak highly of the person, but rarely observe silence.
Minutes of silence are a common occurrence in the Premier League, and Muslim players are not known to boycott the mark of respect.
The game added extra tension to an already important match, but Australia came out on top with a score of 3-2.
Saudi FA, FFA, FIFA and the AFC have been approached for comment. Two Australians were killed in Saturday night’s terror attack on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.
Nanny Sara Zelenak, 21, was confirmed dead on Wednesday, after her mother flew to London to try and find her.
Some fans called for official measures to be taken against the Saudi team (pictured: the Australian team observing the minute of silence)
Outraged fans were at least given a reason to smile later in the game as Australia beat Saudi Arabia 3-2
She had been separated from her friend on London Bridge just before the violent attack began.
SAUDI TERROR LINKS
Saudi Arabia is said to be the most prolific sponsor of Islamist terrorism around the world, with links to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS.
While the Saudi government denies that it is responsible for exporting religious extremism, it is argued that by its nature, the strict Saudi-based Wahhabism teachings of Islam encourages intolerance and promotes terrorism.
Anti-West feelings in Saudi Arabia were first exacerbated by the presence of US military in the country after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Many Muslims were upset as it violated a religious tradition of excluding non-Muslim from permanent residence in the Arabian peninsula.
It is thought that this was among the main reasons that Osama bin Laden, who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, called for jihad against the United States.
The September 11 attacks in 2001, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, saw increased pressure on the Saudi government to do more to stop radical imams from preaching anti-American rhetoric.
On Thursday, Iranian authorities arrested five suspects after an ISIS attack which killed 12 and wounded 35 at the country’s parliament.
The country’s Revolutionary Guards blamed Saudi Arabia for the attack, saying: ‘This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the U.S. President Donald Trump and the Saudi backward leaders who support terrorists.
‘The fact that Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they [Saudi Arabia] were involved in the brutal attack.’ Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denied the claims and, like the US, condemned the attack.
Nurse Kristy Boden was also killed in the attack. She had run to help victims when she was also murdered by the terrorists.
Four Australians were caught up in the attack in total, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.
They included Candice Hedge who is recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery after being stabbed in her neck.
Darwin electrician Andrew Morrison has travelled back to Australia after receiving stitches after he was knifed in the neck.
E-learning business owner James McMullan, 32, from Hackney in east London, was killed while he was out celebrating his first million pound deal.
Canadian Christine Archibald, 30, had died in her fiance’s arms after being struck by a speeding van. She was the first victim to be named.
Frenchman Alexandre Pigeard, 27, from Colleville-Montgomery, in Normandy, was killed at the Boro Bistro restaurant where he worked.
Mr Pigeard was stabbed in the neck in front of friends, according to his manager.
French citizen Xavier Thomas is believed to have gone missing after the attack.
He is understood to have been with his girlfriend Christine Delcros when the attack took place. Ms Delcros is said to be injured in hospital.
Ignacio Echeverria, 39, used his skateboard as a weapon against a knife-wielding terrorist as he tried to save a woman from being attacked, it has been revealed.
He lived in London, but hailed from Las Rozas near Madrid. Frenchman Sebastien Belanger has not been seen since the attack.
The three terrorists behind the attacks have been named as Rachid Redouane, Khuram Butt and Youssef Zaghba.
All three were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call.
Australian nanny Sara Zelenak (pictured) was confirmed dead on Wednesday after being missing for four days following the attack
Kirsty Boden (pictured), from Loxton, in South Australia, was killed by knife-wielding terrorists as she ran to help victims of Saturday night’s London terror attack
Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi told Daily Mail Australia the Saudi Arabian team’s decision not to participate in the minute of silence was not about the minute itself, but about the people who were being mourned.
‘[Muslims] regularly mourn over a person if a leader dies or if there is an attack of some kind,’ he said.
‘They did not stop for a moment of silence because according to Wahhabi Islam – which governs Saudi Arabia – it is not wrong or a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-Muslim. In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise.
‘If they stand for a minute of silence, they are against their Muslim brothers who fought for jihad and fought the ‘infidels’.
He noted this may not be the personal view of every player within the team, but they would have been ‘ridiculed’ in Saudi Arabia had they commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack.
The teams were cordial towards each other as they arrived at the pitch, but tensions flared moments after when the Saudi team failed to observe the minute of silence
The Australian team will play against Brazil on Tuesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground