England fans ‘made to strip naked’ after dressing as Crusaders in Qatar
Two England fans claim security officers at the World Cup stripped them naked as a ‘ritual humiliation’ for dressing up as Crusaders.
The Three Lions supporters, whose costumes were inspired by Monty Python, claim the ‘bullying and vindictive’ staff asked ‘Are you here to kill Muslims?’ before seizing their novelty swords and armour.
They told The Times they were then forced to take off the rest of their clothes and stand there nude before finally being allowed into the Al Bayt Stadium to watch the first group game against Iran.
One of the fans, a 56-year-old construction worker, said: ‘There were three police officers standing there giggling. They just wanted to humiliate us.’
The second, an engineer aged 57, said: ‘We are both huge fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and had our costumes hand-made in India.
‘They’re brilliant and cost £3,000 each. We thought it would be a laugh to dress up for the game in keeping with the tradition we’ve seen at virtually every previous World Cup.’
The other added: ‘We had photos taken with so many people outside the stadium: Qatari guys, Iranian guys, people wearing Islamic clothing. Everyone was laughing and having fun. They thought it was great. No one complained.’
Fifa banned supporters from dressing as Christian invaders for the clash against the USA on Friday, adding it was inappropriate in Qatar, the first Islamic country to host the tournament.
The newspaper quoted the governing body as saying ‘Crusader costumers in the Arab context can be offensive against Muslims’.
Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out also advised fans against wearing fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, which recall the religious wars Christians waged against Muslims during the Middle Ages.
A spokeswoman for the group said: ‘We would advise fans who are attending Fifa World Cup matches that certain attire, such as fancy-dress costumes representing knights or crusaders, may not be welcomed in Qatar and other Islamic countries.
‘Foreign Office travel advice issued before the tournament expressed that fans should familiarise themselves with local customs, and we would encourage fans to take this approach.’
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