You Know Who Else Loves the World Cup? Osama Bin Laden, That's Who

What do terrorists do, when they're not hating us for our freedoms, and faking Hawaiian birth certificates? They play soccer! Yes, the favorite sport of America-hating European secularists is also the favorite sport of a bunch of violent dogmatic jerks.

The people, who are always trying to blow us up, in planes, and so forth? They love soccer too! And unlike Americans, they don't stop caring between World Cups.

Bin Laden—whose strict Islamist worldview proscribes music, women's education, gambling, drinking, homosexuality, and the shaving of beards—is a fan of the game, and his preferred position is center forward. He is one of the many jihadists who worship the world's most popular sport. "It's on the whole their favorite thing after jihad," says Scott Atran, an American and French anthropologist who has studied the interplay between terror groups and soccer.

When Islamists from various countries traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight off the Russians as mujahedin, the soccer-crazy religious fanatics formed a "de facto mini-World Cup... with fighters forming teams to represent their countries of origin." Al Qaeda itself had a "two-team league" of "serious soccer with regularly scheduled practices and weekly matches between the squads after Friday prayers."

But, OK, it's not all lovable makeshift tournaments and quirky terrorist group soccer leagues. It turns out that soccer is an effect recruitment tool, and, importantly, provides handlers with ready-made groups of bros who enjoy broing out in "action-oriented" ways like kicking a ball around or flying a plane into a building:

More often, however, soccer leads to militancy rather than vice versa: "Our data show that a reliable predictor of whether or not someone joins the jihad is being a member of an action-oriented group of friends. It's surprising how many soccer buddies join together," Atran told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March.

So, basically, millions of American kids are literally a Qu'ran verse or two away from jihad, thanks to extensive youth soccer programs, which are probably funded by Osama himself, and George Soros. No wonder socialists are so good at this game.

[Newsweek]