ISIS execution in Syria (July 9, 2016)

On this day in 2016, the terrorist group ISIS beheaded four football players in Raqqa, Syria after having declared that sport are ‘un-Islamic’.

Terrorists don’t usually need complicated excuses to kill innocent people but some rationales are just pathetic.

RAQQA, SYRIA — Are you a sports fan? Or are you more of a sporting type? Me, I am both, especially when it comes to hockey (how typically Canadian!). I play goal a few times a week in what we call ‘pick-up’ (i.e. unorganised, or lightly organised) with a bunch of guys and I watch NHL hockey now and then. Or rather I did both before COVID-19 hit. Here’s hoping we can get back to normal and I can get back to stopping pucks.

Others see sports as either frivolous or hoovering up too much attention and money. I may not agree with the former but I can see the point of the latter. Professional athletes do make way too much money (how can footballer Cristiano Ronaldo be paid $105 million a year?) and are way too influential on just about everything. I can see why this turns off many.

But none of this should mean that those who engage in sports, either watching or playing, should be killed. To each their own, I say. You may not like sports, or not like that your spouse, say, watches too many sports programmes on TV, but you don’t have the right to kill him/her.

Tell that to Islamic State (ISIS).

On this day in 2016 the terrorist group beheaded four football players in Raqqa, after having declared the sport ‘un-Islamic’. Photographs of the aftermath of the gruesome execution, together with snaps of three of the star players lining up for their side in the days before ISIS invaded, were released in a series of tweets by a group protesting the violent extremists.

ISIS made a lot of shit up when it came to what was ‘Islamic’ and what was not. It claimed a monopoly on what was allowed and what wasn’t. Those who would not ‘follow the rules’ were killed.

Unfortunately, this heinous act was just one of many that group carried out in its so-called ‘Caliphate‘. That fake ‘state’ is no longer with us, even if ISIS is not completely gone. Expect more such acts in the future.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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