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July 2021

Saudi Arabia national team refuse to observe minute’s silence for those killed in London, before match.

By Tony Attwood

The Saudi Arabia national football team refused to observe a minute’s silence held before today’s match against Australia in Adelaide.   The excuse given apparently was that a minute’s silence is not recognised in their culture as a way to recognise those who have been killed.

As a result the Australian team lined up in the normal manner, and stood in silence while all although one of the Saudi team (Salman al-Faraj), continued to warm up and kick the ball around.   Salman al-Faraj stood facing the Australian team with his hands respectfully behind his back.

Adam Peacock, a presenter with Fox Sports Australia, said later that the Saudi team had not wished to have the minute’s silence.   It is reported that he “tried to reason” with the Saudi Arabia officials, but they utterly refused to accept their host’s wishes.

Sara Zelenak, 21, from Brisbane and the South Australian Kirsty Boden, 28, were both killed in last Saturday night’s terror attack.  Kirsty Boden was the nurse, of whom we have heard a lot in the UK media who died while running towards the attack in an effort to help people on the bridge. Two other Australians were stabbed in the neck in the attack.

I must fully admit that I have no idea if a period of silence is a recognised way or not to show respect in Saudi culture or in Islam more broadly.  But I am utterly certain that accepting the traditions of the country in which you are a visitor is fundamental to all contact between countries, for without it everyone can do as they please.    If I were to go to Saudi Arabia I would accept that I could not drink alcohol while within the country.  I wouldn’t expect to go there and have a drink and then say, “not drinking is not accepted as a way of life in my country.”


The Australia team linked arms in a line on the centre circle while the Saudi Arabia team stood in random formation as the silence began.

I am not surprised for once that there was outrage on social media and I fully agree with the tweet quoted in the Telegraph which said, “I hope Fifa call out Saudi Arabia on the clear lack of respect shown prior to kick-off. Not participating in the minute’s silence is disgusting.”

If the match had been played in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi’s had not acknowledged the Australian’s wish for a minute’s silence, then that would be the home side’s choice.  I would still think it extremely discourteous, but it is their homeland.  But this lack of understanding of the right of the host to do things by the custom of the home country is ludicrous, and really should not be allowed to pass by Fifa.

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However as we know Fifa is already compromised by its desire to hold the World Cup in Qatar.

According to the Daily Mail ‘The FFA was advised by Saudi team officials that this tradition [of the silence] 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.”   But they did not, and carried on warming up.

However pictures have been produced of club team Al-Ahli standing motionless in respect before a match against Barcelona.   It has also been pointed out that the United Arab Emirates team observed a minute’s silence before a match in 2014.

The Daily Mail has also run the headline “Islamic sheikh: ‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs’,” and they cite an imam as suggesting the Saudi Arabian team refused to take part in a minute’s silence for the London terror victims because they believe ‘it is not a sin for a Muslim to kill a non-believer’.”

However they also add that “Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says it is a ‘lie’ to say the Muslim culture does not remember the dead with a moment of silence, and instead argued the football team did not partake in the mourning because they stand with the jihadist men.

“‘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,’ he 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.

“Sheikh Tawidi also added the team would have been ‘ridiculed’ back home if they had commemorated the victims of the London terrorist attack. “

We wait for a comment from Fifa, but I suspect we will be waiting for a long time.

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29 comments to Saudi Arabia national team refuse to observe minute’s silence for those killed in London, before match.

  • OlegYch

    hard to believe they meant to disrespect anyone or support extremism

  • OlegYch

    i heard they didn’t form the line, but still stood in silence during the minute

  • Leon

    “‘In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise”.

    If only they knew!

  • Useless terrorists, y admit dem into footballing community, ban them for life

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Why should there be a pretence that it’s not known what Saudi Arabia stands for? Saudi Arabia is the Sunni Islam enclave where their Coat of Arms said it all. i.e. the Koran(Sunni Islamic belief) in one hand and the Sword(death) is in the other hand, make your choise. It’s true every Sunni Islamic practice believers know that to kill Christians is not a sin. For they’ve been taught in the Islamic Sunni faith that if a Sunni faith believer or believers do this with the intention of wagging Jihad(Sunni Islamic holy war) he or she or them will go straight into Islamic Paradise where limitless good food, beautiful women abound to eat and marry and be enjoying for eternity.

    It’s an Irony to see president Donald Trump and PM Theresa May romancing with King Salmon of Saudi Arabia in the manner of selling more arms and ammunition to him to distribute to his soldiers around the world to kill, injure, wound and maimed more Christians around the world.

    Saudi accusing Qatar of funding ISIL is a camouflage to deceive. The rich and the powerful Saudi citizens are the very ones financing global terrorism against Christians in the name of Jihad.

  • Oldham Gooner

    To commemorate the recent victims of terror, we observed a minute’s silence in my office. Some colleagues such as myself continued to work in silence while others stopped. I spoke to one who had stopped and she felt it was slightly disrespectful to have continued working. I was genuinely surprised and didn’t think that it might be perceived that way.

    I understand that being perceived as not observing the silence can easily offend, especially in today’s political climate but I agree with OlegYch, that shouldn’t be taken in any way as an endorsement of terror or otherwise deliberately intended in a disrespectful manner.

    Islamic traditional scholarship enables Muslims to commemorate ones who have passed away, regardless of their personal faith, by their own volition. This is definitely one situation where I can appreciate both sides, especially being born a Muslim in the UK.

    The promise of paradise is to give hope and inspire good deeds; that’s something that can also be twisted to fit political purposes, but it is a spiritual truth I deeply believe in and share with many others. Knowledge truly is empowering, if only we all knew more.

  • Menace

    I would break diplomatic relations & expel all Saudi Nationals from the UK immediately. This is totally unacceptable behaviour from any country or its nationals.

  • Saadman

    As a Muslim, I think I deserve to have a say on this matter. Firstly I cannot tell you anywhere in our religion where it says you cannot pay tribute to the dead. In fact that is an obligation on all Muslims. And the religion does allow certain parts of any culture to be preserved and not simply cast aside or rejected just because its origins are non-islamic. Unjustified killing is not allowed in mainstream!m interpretations of Islam, but yes there are extremist factions, and unfortunately today we see a lot of this prevalent due to the extreme wahhabist interpretation of the religion and its spread throughput the world courtesy of oil money. All the extremist interpretations of the religion are like the protestant reformation of Christianity, which I belive led to the beginning of a lot of violence in Christian Europe. We are in a way seeing sort of the same thing happen with our religion. And yes what Saudi did was utterly inexcusable and I personally am totally against it. I think most Muslims, secular and moderately religious, disagree with what the Saudis did and also we condemn the recent London attacks as well as other such attacks happening around the world.

  • Alex

    Sport should not be mixed up with politics i guess.

    I lived and work in Saudi Arabia and being non muslim is not an easy.

    So nothing new for us that been living there.

    By the way all of you that uou crying today had it cross in your mind to pay a bit of respect when Boko Haram did numerous atrocities against the poor fellow Nigerian kids ?
    How about the slaughtering of Innocent black african in its cruel fashion that one can see.

    Lets pay a tribute and respect for every innocent life caught on this tragedy not for the few white men and women.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ Courtesy costs nothing .’ Give respect and get respect in return.

  • lily lavendar

    …so stop posting this false news everywhere and try to make the muslim name look bad….and as for that sheikh tawidi(whatever), He’s a lunatic

  • Alex

    Another wolf cry.The atrocities commited by those muslims against non muslims everywhere in the world is not as you put it as some version of quran has gone misinterpreted by some muslims the result of what we see today.

    Be honest and admit that your religion requests you the muslim to convert non muslims forcibly if not to kill the men and rob its capital is Halal or no sin counted.Same to women no problem to rape non muslim women and you are allowed as a muslim to use them as your property.

    Wether you as individual refuse to abide by this it is upto you but do not tell us quran does not say that.

    As i said i was leaving in those shores and countless time has been recitated to me this version of quran and finally took my money and left me hung dry.

    So go and cry wolf some where else

  • Alex

    The only problem i have with the article is where is supposed to be drawn the line.

    Respect for everyone caught by those muslims not for your darling white only but for everyone.

  • swing

    Okay Alex
    according to you its their religion, fair enough. I suppose it couldn’t be revenge for maiming, killing, decapitating men women and children in muslim countries for 30 plus years. I mean Nato destroys whole countries but lets forget that and blame religion again. People can stick their heads in the sand all they want but it wont solve the problem, terrorism wont go away until the causes are solved namely certain countries oil foreign policy.

    By the way extremists kill more muslims, the irony is all these western governments fund these extremists for their own purposes and then cry crocodile tears afterwards. I hate politics, it always results in such excrement. The world is doing nothing about this, FIFA wont either

  • Alex

    The big powers they will use every trick in the book to consolidate their power.

    Are they using them ? Yes

    But Quran states clearly the above mentioned and muslims are obliged to follow.

    NATO did not rob my hard earned money but muslims based upon their satanic religion did.

  • The_Ledge

    What I’d like to know is this: Why is our Conservative government so hell bent on supporting the destruction of Christian enclaves in Yemen, Lebanon and the Palestinian Occupied lands in Israel?

    Bearing in mind that the UK financial and banking sector is owned by Jewish interests, as is the USA, you would possibly expect us to be supporting Israel to some degree. But what is the reasoning behind a coalition that also includes Saudi Arabia?

    BTW, I note that Al Jazeera has come under severe attack on it’s technological infrastructure, since breaking the story about the Saudi football team.

    We, in the UK, have to STOP making enemies, and at the same time, work out who our REAL friends are!

  • Josif

    As a Sunni Muslim who happens to be a secular one, I will just put a “+1” under what Saadman wrote and “a middle finger” under Trumpist junk Alex left on this site.

    As for Saudi Arabia, there is no country in the world that promotes Wahabism as the most rigid interpretation of Islam more than Saudi Arabia so I am not as shocked as I would have been if, say, Iranian players refused to pay respect to the victims of the terrorist attacks.

    What duds like Alex don’t know is that they are watering Wahabists’ flowers of evil with hate against Muslims. There was no Wahabism in Bosnia prior to the war 1992-95. Then Saudi Arabia sent their booklets, “charity organisations” and other things that would benefit on the Bosnian Muslim atrocities. After the Srebrenica genocide, Wahabism got the ammunition for the worst of all campaigns. Their major thesis is that Bosnian Muslims – moderate, European and secular – were too weak, too little in touch with Islam and that’s why they were victims of the genocide. Wahabism is represented as an alternative to the Bosnian Islam, as a steroid that will strengthen the Bosnian Muslim body.

    Today, however, Wahabism doesn’t need booklets. Guys like Alex do the job for them.

  • Alex

    Bosnia ..mehh…pfft

    You and that evil islam can hide among politician but not ordinary people in the street.Agree there is some way to go to reach the true but not easy to hide anymore.

    Paying a minute of respect does not make you angel .

  • para

    “Extremism” is usually funded by powerful people to keep people from uniting, which will happen naturally as the world grows. Then they fund the other side too to have full control.

    Many examples are written in the story of life. For example, the CIA works in countries to destabalise that country, find dissidents, fund them to oppose the current gov all in a days work.

    Stop praising the christians, they are also guilty of killing “infidels” (funny how these infidels were many from islamic countries) as well as many of other countries in europe. Remember the crusades?

    What goes around comes around again.

    Its really funny how a wicked man, after going to the depths of wickedness, can now stand and denounce those who copy them. It is fear i think, not that they have changed in any way, just pure fear!

    Time for people to denounce all these systems that are in place to keep them “occupied” and “dumb” and “sleeping” and awake to the pure energy of being individualy one.

  • Menace

    There have been apologies for the behaviour of the football team. At least that is some civility coming out of this.

    Alex – please keep your hate away from this site. This is untold Arsenal not untold Alex.

    There are good & bad everywhere. The bad teach us the benefit of good & vice versa. The sad thing is the PGMOL haven’t learnt a damned thing!!!

  • Leon

    Well done Tony.
    Another exercise in how to get your commenters to insult each other and create more hits.
    Just write an article on religion, politics or Man City
    Never fails does it!

  • Alex


    Learn untold story or share if you have one.I am not preaching anyone just say it as i see it.

  • The_Ledge


    “There are good & bad everywhere. The bad teach us the benefit of good & vice versa. The sad thing is the PGMOL haven’t learnt a damned thing!!!”

    That’s because they are not of this world.

    PGMOL live in a world of their own!

  • M18CTID


    For once I’m in total agreement mate 😉 Alex’s comments are bang out of order. You can’t tar all Muslims with the same brush Alex – many of them absolutely denounce these acts of terrorism and some of them have come on here to do that, yet you’ve thrown abuse back in their faces. And saying that the Quran has extremist parts to it is all well and good but so does the bible. Most Muslims practice their religion in a peaceful way. The issue is mainly with those that promote Wahabism, as Josif stated, and how that can be tackled. It’s a big problem for sure but blaming all Muslims for it when so many don’t practice Wahabism is grossly unfair.

  • omgarsenal

    I lived in a Muslim country in the Middle East and never felt singled out or abused in any way by my hosts. I saw large groups of locals standing in silence during public events to remember those gone before them….it is NOT a Muslim thing to refuse to do so.There traditions,beliefs and culture were very different from what I knew BUT they did not disrespect my country or its traditions at any time and I enjoyed freedom of religious practice and belief, as long as I didn’t try to proselytize anyone.
    Ignorance is bliss as the old saying goes. Those who come on here and make judgements about 1.2 billion of the world’s citizens AND generalize about other religions are displaying the other phenomena we see on here a lot of the time: they don’t let their ignorance interfere with their prejudices.
    Let’s try and respect ourselves and others on UA by showing some class and restraint?

  • Alex

    1.2b muslims are all terrorist it is your interpretation.

    Some muslims they dont give a hoot about quran or religion as themselves know is all bullshit basically.But an idiot like the usual Omgarsenal because he is been treated well himself thinks it is all roses for everyone.
    Tell this to the Philipinos and Philipinas or Taiwans and Africans you will receive a nice slap deservedly .
    Anyway i read your other comments and you
    Are an old and definetly immature.

  • Dare

    Alex all we need to do is pray for these people that they believe in JESUS. Many of them are doing what their religion says because they’re an ardent follower of their religion.

  • para


  • Kopykatt

    I’m not a religious person, but fully respect those that are. Hatred is hatred pure and simple. Are Alex’s comments really acceptable for the rules of this site as they are clearly there purely to provoke.
    This world horrifies me at times with all those suffering. Maybe one day mankind as a whole will figure out what is needed to bring an end to it all.