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’ according to a spokesman for Football Federation Australia.
Fans were left outraged at the display ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Australia in Adelaide. But few sought to understand why.
Hate to bring politics into football, but why didn’t Saudi Arabia line up for the minutes silence for the terrorist attack victims? #AUSvKSA
— Rachael (@_RachaelClaire_) June 8, 2017
THIS WASN’T UNEXPECTED
A spokesperson from the Football Federation Australia said that 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 agreement itself shows a respect for the cultures and customs of other nations and what they choose to do, especially showing respect towards the Australian teams decision to have a minutes silence for the two Australian nationals that passed.
‘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.’
This was something The FFA were completely aware of and not a defiant stunt by the Saudi Arabian team.
‘FOXSPORTS, was informed of this prior to the minute’s silence taking place.’
Their efforts of respect despite the seemingly disrespectful act didn’t go unnoticed by some.
One player did stand in a minutes silence out of his own choice.
A lot of admiration for the few Saudi Arabia players who, unlike their teammates showed respect & observed the minutes silence today v AUS
— Jack Ovington (@JackOvington97) June 8, 2017
SAUDI FANS RESPOND
The twitter storm that followed brought out the worst in people. Xenophobia, Islamophobia and hate speech towards the Saudi Arabian team. However, some sought to explain the reasons why they did it.
I put this not as endorsement but for information pic.twitter.com/QAbLG0yXDP
— Guido Tresoldi (@GuidoTresoldi) June 8, 2017
Saudi fans claimed it was not from their culture, customs or religion to take a moment of silence to respect the dead.
— Visa4you (@ksa_visas) June 8, 2017
It’s not in our culture or religion, even if the whole royal family died 🤞 none of saudies would line up for that “calm down” pic.twitter.com/78E0h1YOgf
— HAMAD SALEH (@hamad_saleh6) June 8, 2017
A MINUTE’S SILENCE FOR ALL?
The minutes silence was for the victims of the London Attack. But let’s put this in context. Before then there was the Manchester Attack and since then, there were the attacks in Kabul, Iran and Baghdad. Yet there were no minutes silence for those atrocities.
This didn’t go unnoticed either.
Never seen Man Utd vs Chelsea have a minutes silence for a suicide bomber in Saudi Arabia before like https://t.co/AS8SIzGMgn
— Kierön (@ffsNewcastIe) June 8, 2017
— Alba gu bràth (@MDP_Glasgow) June 8, 2017
Completely up to them if they do or not. I can’t remember too many times we’ve stood for minutes silence for attacks on Saudi Arabia? https://t.co/Kr5w2bna1Z
— Jon Dean (@jonny_d89) June 8, 2017
Because where are the minutes silence in London when it happens in Saudi Arabia? https://t.co/Y3EVLG8094
— Just Joe. (@DutchMaldini) June 8, 2017
The Saudi Arabian team’s choice however was not a political one but an ethical and cultural one. They do not stand for minutes silence in general.
They don’t so that for Kings either. Saudi tweeters have been educating those interested.
— Ildfluer (@ildfluer) June 8, 2017
A point was drawn that there has been a minutes silence in the past for a dead king held at the 2015 Handball Tournament.
It’s not custom in Saudi. But when in a country where it is custom, it is also respectful to follow said custom
— HammyMchamtron (@DontgowithT) June 8, 2017
If one stands with all people, then we literally stand for all or for none. These gestures are meant to show solidarity, but when we do not stand with and for all people, what looks like a minutes silence for one is a lack of unity for others.