Saturday 26 of November, 2022
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Jihadis Love Haram Football

An unlikely force is joining the current football fever sweeping the world - Somali jihadists Al-Shebab. The militant group has their own halal twist on the game though, which includes their own dress code, and potential floggings.

Staff Writer

Everyone on the planet is football crazy right now - including Somalia's Al-Shebab militants. However footie-mad militants play a very different game in the rebel-ruled territories. Halal footballers tog-out in kits belonging to Arsenal, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea but with one key difference - no shorts are allowed. Players musr wear tracksuits, which must reach below the knee while all jerseys must reach the elbows.

Meanwhile the bizarre spin-off also requires games to finish at least 15 minutes before prayer, and no women are allowed at the ground. But these aren't the only twists in the topsy-turvy game where many of the world's most famous goal celebrations are strictly offside. For instance, Balotelli-style stunts, in which a player removes his shirt, will result in a lifetime ban from playing football, while hip-gyrating by the corner flag will earn a player a public flogging and a life ban.

But worst of all is the Premier League staple of blowing kisses in triumph. The stunt is seriously forbidden - unless you want your TONGUE removed. Al-Shabab referees don’t just dish out red and yellow cards, according to the Al-Jazeera investigation. Instead referees sometimes dole out physical punishment such as flogging, in a bid to curb unruly players.

In many parts of the world, referees are known for a tough stance on tackling. However al-Shabab referees are more likely to see red over players' swearing.  If a player swears he is quickly banned from the sport and taken off frontline duty.However shouting the name of al-Shabab's Emir, Sheikh Abu Zubeyr, can win back favours with the referee, who wears long trousers, shirt and a white Muslim Kufi hat.

It's not yet known if the craze has spread to other jihadist factions - however it may be only a matter of time before we see Ansar Beit al-Maqdis topping the North Sinai league.