In December, we posted about an article at Sky News Arabia – a venture between UK-based Sky News and UAE-based Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp – which falsely claimed that the Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem never hired non-Jews “until recently”. In fact, as we demonstrated in our post, Beitar had at least one non-Jewish player in its ranks at any given time since the early 1990s, four of whom were Muslim. (Our previous post set the number on five. However one of them claimed to be Christian in a 2016 interview, even though he said to a local Jerusalem newspaper that he was of Muslim background about 15 years prior.)
Now, Sky News Arabia has published an article (“Fans of an Israeli team demand to change the name of ‘player Muhammad’”, June 11th) peddling a related falsehood about the hiring practices of the club:
“The Muslim name [of a player named Ali Muhammad, a Christian Nigerien player who signed with the club the previous day] is not welcomed by the fans of Beitar Jerusalem. [The club] is considered the most racist in Israel, not having a single Arab or a Muslim playing in its ranks throughout its history.”
Though the article is correct in observing that there have been no Arab players on the team, their claim that Beitar hasn’t had a single Muslim player is – as we noted above – completely untrue.
Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by UK Media Watch.