Anti-Soccer Fatwas Led Saudi Soccer Players to Join the Jihad in IraqAnti-Soccer Fatwas Led Saudi Soccer Players to Join the Jihad in Iraq
The Saudi daily Al-Watan reported recently that Islamic extremists were inciting Saudi soccer players to quit their teams and wage jihad in Iraq. According to these reports, the young athletes were influenced by fatwas forbidding the game of soccer except when played under certain conditions and with the express intention of using the game as physical training for jihad. Saudi sheikhs and intellectuals have criticized the fatwas and the religious authorities that issued them. On August 22, 2005, Al-Watan reported that the soccer players involved in this affair were from the Al-Taif region, and that some of them belonged to the region's well-known Al-Rashid team." In another article, Al-Rashid captain Ja'far 'Attas said that three of his players had left the team. A few days later, team members confirmed that the three had become devout and, under the influence of various fatwas, had begun to believe that soccer was forbidden by religious law.