A Kuwaiti fencer has withdrawn from the World Fencing Championships held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to avoid facing an Israeli counterpart, following similar measures taken by a host of Muslim players from across the Islamic world.
Kuwait’s fencer Mohamed al-Fadli pulled out of the annual competition in Dubai after he refused to play with an Israeli opponent, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Monday.
Pro-Palestine activists hailed Fadli’s decision, describing the move as “part of Kuwait’s supportive positions towards the Palestinian cause” and its opposition to normalizing ties with Israel.
Fadli also withdrew from an international tournament in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, in September 2019, after the draw placed him in a group competing with an Israeli player.
Back in late May last year, Kuwait’s National Assembly unanimously approved bills that outlaw any deals or normalization of ties with the Tel Aviv regime.
On August 18, 2020, 37 Kuwaiti lawmakers called on their government to reject a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Anti-Israeli sentiments run high in Kuwait. A poll conducted in 2019 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an American think tank, showed that 85 percent of Kuwaitis oppose normalizing ties with Israel.
This is not the first time that Muslim sportspeople from across the Islamic world have refused to face Israeli contestants in a variety of sports events in protest at the occupying entity’s crimes against Palestinians and in opposition to normalization of relations with Israel by some Arab countries.
Back in January, Kuwait’s tennis player Muhammad al-Awadi also withdrew from an international tennis tournament in the UAE after he was told that he was going to face a representative from the Israeli regime.
The latest development comes following a string of withdrawals from international competitions by Muslim athletes in order not to face Israeli opponents.
In July 2021, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine withdrew from the 2020 Summer Olympics in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo, after the draw set him on course for a possible showdown against an Israeli opponent.
During the same month, Sudanese judoka Mohamed Abdalrasool also withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, becoming the second athlete to pull out of the international multi-sport event to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.
Last August, Lebanon’s Abdullah Miniato also withdrew from the international mixed martial arts (MMA) competition in Sophia, Bulgaria to avoid a match against an Israeli opponent.
To honor athletes opposing normalization with Israel, the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine (GCRP) held the International Forum to Honor Anti-Normalization Athletes in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, from January 31 until February 2.
The GCRP, which is an umbrella organization for civil society associations that support the Palestinian cause both in the Arab countries and the world, had announced earlier that the three-day event would take place in “recognition of the heroic act of anti-normalization athletes, and with the participation of international personalities.”
The event was held as the Tel Aviv regime continues to “sportswash” its flagrant human rights violations and its appalling crimes against Palestinians through using its presence in international sports and cultural events.