Jihadi World Cup Fans 02

Which World Cup Teams Are Jihadis Rooting For?

Members of West-hating terrorist groups love the beautiful game

The first match of the 2014 World Cup hasn’t even been played yet, but it’s already caused dilemmas for certain groups of fans. Brazilians, for instance, are considering rooting for the country’s rivals in protest of the billions their dysfunctional government has spent to host the tournament. Some Americans, meanwhile, wonder if they should ditch a U.S. team doomed for failure (Group of Death!) and instead back a foreign squad. Then there’s the vexing problem jihadis face: Though expressly forbidden from loving anything “Western,” they really, really love futbol.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) published this photo in May showing an ISIS member playing soccer with Syrian kids to illustrate how the group is bonding with local populations.

(Hanein.info)

Some terrorist groups, like the Nigerian Boko Haram, specifically target people for watching football. In late May, a suicide bomber killed three people in Jos, Nigeria, in an attack on a group of fans who were watching the European Champions League match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

But some terrorist groups are using people’s passion for soccer as a way to connect with potential jihadi supporters. In stark contrast to Boko Haram’s tactics, the jihadi group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has featured soccer in its propaganda campaigns multiple times this year. They faked a video depicting famous French footballer Lassana Diarra as a jihadi fighter in Syria, sparking a rumor that went so viral that Diarra was forced to deny the claims. (“He has never set foot in Syria,” said his lawyer.)

Respond Now
  • A few labels on the pie charts would have helped. The colors are so close they are almost impossible to read. How about a few arrows to identify the big pie sections? I gave up trying to figure them out. Bad graphic presentation.

  •  Oh, Tra-la-la!  Jihadist, genocidal, misogynistic murderers are just soccer fans too!  Really? Somebody actually wrote this unbelievably short-sighted dreck? GAWD!  That’s like writing a fluff article about which flavors of ice cream serial killers favor most!

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