ISIS Supporters Invite Lionel Messi to Join Jihad After Goal Against Iran

Slate's soccer blog.
June 24 2014 12:06 PM

ISIS Supporters Invite Lionel Messi to Join Jihad After Goal Against Iran

Lionel Messi
Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Iran.

Photo by PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images

When Lionel Messi scored a 91st-minute goal to give Argentina a victory over underdogs Iran in Saturday’s World Cup game, he seems to have picked up some unlikely fans.

Iran’s Mehr News Agency, as translated by the Brookings Institution’s Hanif Zarrabi-Kashani, reports that online supporters of ISIS, the Sunni militant group currently fighting in Iraq and Syria, congratulated Messi for defeating their Shiite enemy Iran and invited him to “join the jihadist call.”


Many jihadist groups aren’t exactly friendly toward international soccer. This World Cup alone has seen tragic and deadly attacks on viewing parties in Nigeria and Kenya.

But ISIS supporters, known for their social media savvy, have attempted to take advantage of the game’s popularity. AFP reported recently that pro-ISIS tweeters have been hijacking the #WorldCup2014 hashtag to promote news of gains in Iraq. A couple of months ago, the French footballer Lassana Diarra was forced to deny online rumors that he had traveled to Syria to take up arms against the Assad regime.

As for Iran, despite the heartbreaking loss, the team’s better-than-expected performance against Argentina sparked a massive street party in Tehran, which seems to have made the authorities extremely uneasy.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.