Moroccan players have been targeted by Western media for their support of Palestine, as well as for proudly claiming their Muslim faith.
A German television anchor has sparked outrage online after comparing the Moroccan national team with the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
The Welt anchor showed an image of three national team players after a successful World Cup game, in which they raised their index fingers.
This is a common gesture for billions of Muslims around the world who praise God by professing the concept of Tawhid, or ‘Oneness’.
However, the anchor likened the players to ISIS, claiming the gesture caused “irritation”.
“This is a greeting that the so-called Islamic State has adopted,” he claimed.
“The fighters often pose with the gesture after conquests. It’s unclear whether the World Cup players from Morocco were aware of the significance of the gesture,” he alleged.
The segment, broadcast to millions, was widely shared online, however social media users were quick to call out the brazen racism targeting the Moroccans.
“I am fascinated every day by the extent in which German racism presents itself with its coverage of the World Cup,” Germany-based journalist Hebh Jamal tweeted.
Another Twitter user pointed out similar gestures made by Ronaldo of Portugal as well as his Brazilian counterpart.
“German media goes nuts: German channel “WELT” claims that three Moroccan players make the sign of ISIS!! Seems like Ronaldo and Ronaldo were also members of ISIS??! Racist and stupid is a dangerous & frightening mix!” she said.
The outrageous claims were made just days after Die Tageszeitung also criticised the Moroccans for their support of Palestine, calling the raising of the flag at the World Cup as “orchestrated hostility towards Israel”.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is the first such time the tournament is being held in a Muslim and Arab nation, with thousands of fans using the opportunity to showcase their support of Palestine. Flags have been raised across fan zones as well as stadiums throughout the tournament.
Arab teams involved in the tournament, especially Morocco, have been bold with their solidarity, celebrating their wins by waving the flag on the pitch.
Fans attending matches told Doha News the historic hosting of the tournament in a Muslim and Arab country for the first time has provided a platform for real solidarity to be shown on a global level.