No, Christian spectators did not convert to Islam during a France-England football match

By: Rajini KG
July 10 2023

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No, Christian spectators did not convert to Islam during a France-England football match


The Verdict False

In a recent Iraqi Premier League match, three referees held the Quran before the game to denounce the incident in Sweden.

Claim ID 6dc344da


A man burnt a copy of the Quran outside the Stockholm Central Mosque on June 28 in Sweden, sparking condemnation from several Muslim countries. Many videos and images about this incident are circulating online. 

A post (archive here) from July 5 contained a collage of two images — The first image shows spectators at a ground holding a huge banner that reads in Arabic, "القرآن الكري دستورنا الخالد والدفاع عنه واجب شرعي على كل المسلمين . (The Qur'an is our immortal constitution and defending it is a legitimate duty for all Muslims)." The second image shows three men wearing black jerseys holding a Quran in their hands. The caption in Hindi claims, "During the football match between France and England, 3 Christian spectators left Christianity and accepted Islam and embraced the Quran.”

However, the claim is false. Iraqi players, referees, and fans hailing the Quran during the recent Iraqi Premier League match in the aftermath of the burning incident in Stockholm has been shared with a false angle.

In Fact

The black jerseys in the second image have the words 'FIFA Referees' on it. The three men are also wearing earphones on their right ears. A reverse image search of the image led us to the official account of Al Jazeera where a similar kind of image was shared. The post was titled, "In response to the burning of the Noble Qur'an. Referees and players from the Iraqi Premier League carry the Holy Qur'an before the police and Al-Qasim match (Translated from Arabic)." The banner held by the spectators, as well as the faces and attires of the three men match the viral image.

Shafaqna, an International Shia News Agency from Oman, has published a similar image and states that the Quran was carried onto the pitch by players and referees during the Iraqi League game between the football clubs Al-Qasim and Al-Shurtah, in response to the Quran burnt in Sweden. The spectators held up a banner that stated, "The Quran is our eternal law, and defending it, is obligatory for every Muslim."

A YouTube Channel named ‘Iraqi Sports Channel (قناة العراقية الرياضية)’ aired a live video of the game on June 30. The video was titled "Dorina Studio with Atheer Mohamed | Police vs Al Qasim match." Close to the 11-minute mark, we can see the three referees, along with two team members entering the stadium with Quran in their hands. Following which the spectators cheer the teams, and at 11:30 minutes the referees pose with the Quran. 

Yallakora, a Youtube channel, and the Instagram account of Al Jazeera Sports also shows the same video. Middle East Monitor and Iran Press New Agency also posted the video from the match and reported that match officials and players held Quran in response to extremist acts in Sweden. 

Logically Facts accessed the Iraq Football Association’s Facebook page and saw many players from different teams also embraced Quran during the 2022-23 Iraqi league. 

There are no reports of a football match held between France and England in June or July 2023. 

According to AP News, on June 28, the burning of the Quran in Sweden sparked widespread outrage and condemnation. An Iraqi Christian immigrant burned the Quran at the Stockholm mosque on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, after the police permitted the demonstration. Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, requested a one-day demonstration to uphold the sacredness of the Quran. Protesters in Baghdad, Iraq, invaded the Swedish Embassy. Iran delayed dispatching a new ambassador to Stockholm. Even Pope Francis denounced the extremist act.

The Verdict 

A picture of Iraqi match officials holding copies of the Quran during a Iraqi Football League match, in response to the burning of the holy book in Sweden, has been shared with a false narrative. There was no conversion that took place during the match.

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