England supporters have dressed as Crusader icon St. George for years, but now fans are being warned to leave their chain mail and cross tunics at home lest the costume disturb Muslims during the Qatari World Cup.
The warnings follow a pair of St. George-clad supporters who were seen taken away by Qatari officials during the World Cup.
It is unclear whether fans have been arrested or prevented from watching the England v Iran match in the stands.
The patron saint is often depicted as a crusader knight on horseback in chainmail and holding a sword. The Crusades took place over several hundred years between 1025 and 1291 when Christian armies fought to liberate Jerusalem from Islamic control.
But after the video of fans being taken away by security, activist group Kick It Out, a charity that campaigns against racism and discrimination in football, is warning England fans not to irritate Muslims by dressing crosswise, according to Telegraph.
“We advise fans attending FIFA World Cup matches that certain attire, such as knights or crusaders costumes, may not be welcome in Qatar and other Islamic countries,” said the group in a press release. “Foreign Office travel advice issued ahead of the tournament advised that fans should familiarize themselves with local customs, and we encourage fans to take this approach.”
An England fan in Qatar talks to TalkTV about the treatment of fans at the World Cup.
— TalkTV (@TalkTV) November 20, 2022
Iman Atta, director of Tell Mama, a UK-based group that fights anti-Muslim hatred, also lambasted fans dressed as St. George.
“Our fans should be aware that there are things that may offend Qatari citizens, such as drinking or openly wearing historical Crusader Knights Templar outfits that have very negative implications in the region,” Atta said.
Noting that she understands England fans don’t wear the suit specifically to annoy Muslims, Atta added: “However, we strongly believe in the principle that any World Cup should have an environment where fans can be open, enjoy of what they want to wear and feel safe and secure This principle is one we believe in – although in Qatar people should just be aware and aware of deep sensitivities.
No war between Western Crusaders and Muslims ever took place in or near Qatar.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston, or Truth Social @WarnerToddHuston