When fans barred a black man from boarding a train as they chanted racist lyrics after the Chelsea vs. PSG match on Feb. 17, it was only the most recent in a long history of similarly egregious acts.
Professional soccer is no stranger to racism. While such acts of overt bias should anger us, they should not surprise us. Whether it's chanted slurs, especially dirty tackles, or thrown bananas, racist behaviors emerge from a racist culture.
Below are videos of six of the most infamous incidents of racism in professional soccer since 2011. It is important to remember that these acts are only the explicit tip of an implicit iceberg. These are only some of the examples captured on video.
Pope Francis on Feb. 16 denounced the brutal slayings of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by militants linked to the Islamic State, saying “they were assassinated just for being Christian.”
“The blood of our Christian brothers is a witness that cries out,” Francis said in off-the-cuff remarks during an audience with an ecumenical delegation from the Church of Scotland.
The pope, switching to his native Spanish, noted that those killed only said “Jesus help me.”
“Be they Catholic, Orthodox, Copts, Lutherans, it doesn’t matter: They’re Christian! The blood is the same: It is the blood which confesses Christ,” Francis said.
He said their deaths bore witness to “an ecumenism of blood” that should unite Christians, a phrase he has used repeatedly as the Islamic State continues its bloody march.
The risk of foreign aid work, especially for young people, has again been thrust into the national spotlight after the death of 26-year-old Kayla Mueller.
Mueller, a foreign aid worker, was confirmed dead Feb. 10 after being taken hostage by Islamic extremists in 2013 in Syria.
Even as aid organizations have improved security protocols over the past several years, workers can be placed in war-torn areas where safety cannot be guaranteed, said Abby Stoddard of Humanitarian Outcomes, a research and policy group for humanitarian agencies.
And those who feel compelled to take part in easing human suffering abroad may put safety second.
Nigeria’s election commission has postponed national elections for six weeks saying it would not be able to provide security for voters in the northeast region of the country most affected by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Attahiru Jega, head of the Independent National Electoral Commission, announced Feb. 7 that the elections scheduled for Feb. 14 had been moved to March 28. Nigeria is slated to elect a president for a four-year term. Goodluck Jonathan, the current president and a Christian, is running for re-election alongside 13 other candidates, including his most formidable challenger, Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim.
Jonathan has been sharply criticized for his management of the Boko Haram crisis and some Western leaders suggested the postponement was a last-ditch effort to shore up his vote.
But church leaders in the war-hit regions welcomed the move.
“Many Christians here had not collected their voter cards and this may afford them time to do so,” said the Rev. John Bakeni, the secretary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri.
As world attention shifts to the growing influence of Muslim militant groups on the African continent, few have paid any attention to the ongoing bloody conflict in South Sudan.
An estimated 50,000 people have died and 2 million have been displaced in the latest phase of fighting in this nation, according to the International Crisis Group, a think tank that aims to prevent and resolve such conflicts. That’s about five times more than in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed more than 5,000 people in six years.
“South Sudan’s conflict is not getting much attention due to shifting interests towards Islamic extremism,” said the Rev. Fred Nyabera of Kenya, a social scientist who is director of the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty at the global faith-based organization Arigatou International. “This has become a global issue because of the immediate threats it poses to nations.
“But leaving South Sudan alone at this time when the people are trying to define their identity and country, under very fragile circumstances, is to postpone a big problem,” Nyabera added.
Issue: March 2015
One of the barriers to a just peace in the Middle East has been the one-sided stance of some evangelical Christians in the United States. Many conservative Christians have been uncritical of even the most repressive Israeli policies and political opponents of a responsible two-state solution. But this seems to be changing.