Thursday 30 May 2024

Iraqi fencing team quits FIE Senior World Cup to avoid competing against Israel

Iraq's national fencing team has withdrawn from the 2023 International Fencing Federation (FIE)'s Senior World Cup in the Turkish port city of Istanbul after realizing that its members would have to face Israeli fencers.

"The Iraqi national team withdrew from the individual races in the World Fencing Championship, which is taking place in Istanbul and is a qualifier for the Paris Olympics, after the lottery set it against the team of the occupying Israeli entity," the Iraqi Fencing Federation said in a post on Facebook on Friday.


"The decision to withdraw came in compliance with the law criminalizing normalization [of relations with Israel as] approved by the Iraqi parliament, in rejection of the occupying entity and in solidarity with the Palestinian cause," the post added.


The Iraqi parliament passed a legislation in May 2022, banning any form of normalization with Israel. The law applies to all Iraqi nationals and officials as well as state-run institutions and media outlets.


This came after a Kuwaiti fencer, Abdulaziz Alshatti, also declared his decision to withdraw from the competitions to avoid facing an Israeli contestant.


Similar to Iraq, Kuwait's National Assembly unanimously approved bills in May 2021, criminalizing any deals or normalization of ties with the Tel Aviv regime.


This is not the first time that Muslim sportspeople from across the Islamic world have refused to face Israeli contestants in a variety of sports events in protest at the occupying entity's crimes against Palestinians and in opposition to normalization of some Arab states' relations with Israel.


They view the participation of Israeli athletes in sports events as a scheme to help the Tel Aviv regime gradually normalize its relations with Muslim and Arab nations despite its brutal occupation of Palestine and its relentless crimes against Palestinians.


Last April, Eyas al-Zamer, a teenage Jordanian fencer, quit the 2022 Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships in the United Arab Emirates in order to avoid competing against an Israeli athlete.


The move won the youngster widespread domestic praise, with Jordanians taking to the social media to applaud his choice.


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