Showing ISIS the Red Card, Baghdad fans cheer on World Cup
Meeting in local cafes to watch the matches, Iraqis in the capital are just an hour’s drive away from ISIS fighters
Defying the dangers posed by militant fighters in Iraq, football fans are continuing to gather to watch the World Cup together.
Meeting in local cafes to watch the matches, Iraqis in the capital are just an hour’s drive away from fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have been gaining control of large swathes of western and northern parts of the country since June.
One fan, Raad Abdulhussein, told Agence France-Presse that he has been going to the capital's "Facebook Café" every day with his friends to watch the matches, even though there are clearly risks.
A Café owner, Ali Hussein, said that "a lot of clients" visit to watch the tournament, particularly for important matches, and that he regularly caters to a full house, The Independent reported.
Iraq did not qualify for this year’s tournament in Brazil but in 2007 the national team won the AFC Asian Cup and the 2009 UAE International Cup.
"I remember in 2007 everyone was celebrating in the streets, and you wouldn’t know who was Sunni and who was Shia," Hussein said.
ISIS fighters recently announced the establishment of a “caliphate,” referring to the system of rule that ended nearly 100 years ago with the fall of the Ottomans.