Hardly a few days seem to go by without Muslims getting angry over, attacking or breaking the Christian cross (even as the Western ecumenicists continue to insist that Muslims “love Jesus too”).
On August 18, 2023, Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following the signing of a lucrative two-year contract with Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club. As he stepped off the plane, Neymar was greeted by club officials amid the presence of a throng of reporters, all capturing the historic moment of this globally renowned player’s arrival. However, the spotlight unexpectedly shifted from his arrival to the Saudi club to the diamond-studded cross pendant necklace he was wearing. This seemingly innocuous accessory stirred a wave of reactions on social media and among Muslim clerics worldwide, who perceived it as a potentially offensive and disrespectful gesture toward the birthplace of Islam.
Many of the better known Muslim clerics who criticized Neymar did indeed focus on the fact that he dared wear a cross on Saudi land, that is, Islam’s most sacred land, home to the Ka‘ba, Mecca, Medina, etc. In reality, however, Muslim animosity for the Christian cross is ubiquitous, expressing itself wherever Muslims come across the hated symbol.
A similar case that was unreported in the West occurred last year in neighboring Egypt. There, after much criticism that Egypt was discriminating against Christian soccer players, one Coptic Christian, Wa’il Farhan, was hired as a referee.
Immediately, problems began. First, people (Muslim viewers) began to notice that he had a large cross tattoo on one of his forearms. Officials responded by ordering him to wear a long sleeve shirt (in the Egyptian heat) to cover the cross. But when he started to make the sign of the cross following successful plays, they suspended him.
A couple of years before that, in Istanbul, Turkey, police removed the flags and banners of soccer fans because they had the symbol of a cross, which is part of the logo of the German team they were playing against (a coat of arms with a black cross on a yellow background). The German team and its fans also reported general harassment from the Muslim authorities for carrying their customary Christian symbols during their stay in Turkey.
As these two stories make clear, hate for the cross is not limited to its visibility in the “holy land” of Islam, Saudi Arabia, but rather manifests itself whenever Muslims encounter the crucifix—which, naturally, includes the West.
As one example, and remaining with the soccer theme, in 2004, “Spanish football giant Real Madrid has reportedly dropped the Christian cross affixed at the top of its official crest after signing a sponsorship deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.”
Unlike the plucky Brazilian and Coptic players, clearly big bucks are all that matter for Real Madrid.
Incidentally, this article has focused exclusively on crosses in the context of soccer. For countless examples of modern day Muslims going into paroxysms of rage at the mere sight of crosses, as well as destroying crosses—and sometimes murdering their wearer—click here.