The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer

Munich gives way to Soccer v. Jihad

July 6, 2022

In many ways, the Black September attack on the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 discloses little about the evolution of the targeting of sporting events by political and religious militants even though it remains to date the incident with the greatest number of fatalities. If anything, the Munich attack was never replicated in scale and drama. It introduced a post-World War Two period in which secular nationalists rather than religious militants dominated the targeting of sporting events, executives, and athletes. That may have been different if plans for attacks by religious militants had not failed or been foiled. Interestingly and more as a result of local circumstances, successful attacks on sporting events and personalities since Munich have struck a balance between having been perpetrated by secularists and religious militants. This is true even if political violence since the 1980s increasingly has been perpetrated by religious rather than secular militants.

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