England fans have been dressing up as crusader icon St. George for years, but now fans are being warned to leave their chain mail and crossover tunics at home for fear the clothes will upset Muslims during the World Cup in Qatar.
The warnings come on the heels of some St. George-clad fans being led away by Qatari officials at the World Cup.
It is not clear whether the fans were detained or prevented from watching the match between England and Iran in the stands.
The patron saint is often depicted as a crusader knight on horseback in chainmail and with a sword in his hand. The Crusades took place over hundreds of years between 1025 and 1291 as Christian armies fought to free Jerusalem from Muslim control.
But following the video of the fans being led away by security, activist group Kick It Out, a charity campaigning against racism and discrimination in football, is warning England fans not to anger Muslims by dressing up as crusaders, according to the Telegraph.
“We would like to advise fans attending FIFA World Cup matches that certain clothing, such as costumed costumes representing knights or crusaders, is not welcome in Qatar and other Islamic countries,” the group said in a statement. “The State Department’s travel advisory issued before the tournament indicated that fans should familiarize themselves with local customs, and we encourage fans to take this approach.”
An English fan in Qatar speaks to TalkTV about the treatment of fans at the World Cup.
— TalkTV (@TalkTV) November 20, 2022
Iman Atta, director of Tell Mama, a British anti-Muslim hatred group, also denounced fans who dressed as St. George.
“Our fans should be aware that there are things that may offend Qatari citizens, such as drinking openly or wearing historic Crusader Knights Templar outfits that have very negative implications in the region,” Atta said.
Atta commented that she understands that England fans don’t wear the clothes specifically to annoy Muslims, adding: “However, we firmly believe in the principle that every World Cup should have an environment where fans can be open, enjoy what they want to wear and feel safe. This principle is one we believe in – although people in Qatar just need to be wary and aware of deep sensitivities.”
There have never been any wars between Western Crusaders and Muslims in or near Qatar.
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