MOSCOW - France’s rousing win against first-time finalists Croatia for the FIFA World Cup 2018 held on Sunday has sparked an online discussion regarding the all-pervasive Islamophobia and racism world-over.
A tweet by Khaled Beydoun, an American-Muslim author, has garnered massive attention, that voices his opinions regarding how migrants, specifically Africans and Muslims contributed to France’s incredible triumph over opponent Croatia. “Dear France, Congratulations on winning the #WorldCup . 80% of your team is African, cut out the racism and xenophobia. 50% of your team are Muslims, cut out the Islamophobia. Africans and Muslims delivered you a second World Cup, now deliver them justice,” Khaled wrote.
Addressing the government to deliver justice just as immigrants delivered France a second World Cup, author of famous book 'Islamophobia' urged authorities to bring an end to ills like xenophobia. Khaled’s tweet has since Sunday been retweeted and liked 163,000 and 370,000 times respectively. Moreover, France’s team is regarded as one of the most culturally-diverse teams of the league. Out of 23 players, the team consists of a total of 15 players that are of African descent.
Regarding the tweet, while some netizens mainly supported Khaled’s stance, others pointed out how football shouldn’t be politicised. In 2016 a year after the deadly Paris attack, ex-France footballer Louis Saha said France was lagging behind other countries in tackling racism.
It is the second time France has won the World Cup. Before the team's win in 1998 the far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen had criticised some of its players including Zinedine Zidane, who has Algerian heritage.
He had claimed many of them were "foreigners who were not singing the national anthem before matches". This year there has been a notable silence from the far right corners of the French political spectrum.