Anti-Semitic Banner At Polish Soccer Match 'Outrageous And Offensive'

New York, NY, October 4, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the Polish government to identify and prosecute those fans who unfurled a 'Jihad' banner during a recent Europa League football match against a team from Israel.

At the start of a match against Hapoel Tel Aviv, fans of the Warsaw Legia team displayed a green banner – the colors of the team and of Islamist groups – with the words "Jihad Legia" written in Arabic-style letters.

"The word 'Jihad' is a clear reference to language used by terrorist groups who threaten Israel, and its use at a sporting event against an Israeli team is outrageous and offensive," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We urge the government and the league to take this matter seriously and bring those responsible to justice."

In a letter to the Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, ADL urged the government to intervene as it did in a similar incident last year, when an anti-Semitic banner featuring a stereotypical caricature was displayed at a football match in Rzeszow. In that instance, the foreign ministry successfully pressed the local prosecutor to rescind his decision to drop the changes against those responsible.

Poland's football league will be co-hosting next year's Euro Championships with Ukraine.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.