Saudi soccer team refuses to take part in London tribute
NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The national soccer team of Saudi Arabia refused to take part in a moment of silence to honor the London Bridge terror attack victims during a World Cup qualifier against Australia on Thursday.
Pictures and video on social media show the Australian team lined up on the field while other team players stood on the sidelines.
The Saudi players, which lost the match 3-2, appear to ignore the Australians and proceed to get into formation to start the game. Teammates on the bench remained seated while the moment of silence was observed.
According to the Daily Mail, Saudi soccer officials told match organizers prior to the game that the team would not be taking part in the moment of silence because it was not in keeping with their customs and traditions.
Saudi fans were reportedly shouting during the moment of silence.
"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," an Islamic imam told Daily Mail Australia.
"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.
According to various posts in response to the story, the Saudi team was not likely disrespecting the victims of the terror attack but was simply refusing to take part in something they do not do in Islamic culture.