The scene above comes from an international friendly between Turkey and Greece, played in Istanbul on Tuesday night. Before the match started, a moment of silence was requested for the victims of the Paris attacks. Instead of observing the moment, fans booed, and whistled, and reportedly chanted “Allahu Akbar”:
It’s a dispiriting turn of events, considering how impressively the global community has rallied around France. “Allahu Akbar” is not a terrorist chant by any means (it simply translates to “God is great” in Arabic), but there are no two ways to take that chant being used to drown out a moment of silence for the victims of a terrorist attack.
Remember, soccer fans often are some of the most unhinged members of the general populace. Just like the perpetrators of the Paris attacks do not represent Muslims as a whole, neither do Turkish soccer fans represent all of Turkey. Still, it’s deeply sad to see on a day that was otherwise notable for its diplomacy: Greece and Turkey are uneasy neighbors, and they haven’t played each other in eight years, despite their proximity. The prime ministers of each country, Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, sat next to each other to watch the match and waved to onlookers.
The matched ended in a 0-0 draw.