June 2024
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6

Sports Programs

Iraqi Athletes Living in Jordan Beat Odds (report & video)

In contradiction to the idea that Iraq is permanently mired in religiously-based violence, a team of Iraqi refugees living in Amman, Jordan, are proving that faith is not an enemy to peace.

A soccer team of Shiite, Sunni, Christian, and Kurdish refugees from Iraq traveled outside the Middle East for the first time to compete at the Interreligious Peace Sports Festival (IPSF) in Asia. More than 1,500 athletes from 60 countries met in Asan, South Korea for the 2007 IPSF competition.

Ali Shahan, the team's coach, is himself a former member of the Iraqi National Soccer Team. Team captain, Dul Faqar, a Shiite, explains, "Our team has players from many different religious backgrounds."

"The true Iraq is not one of sectarian conflict," Faqar says. The team has garnered international notice as pioneers of what could be a post-war, peaceful Iraq.

Team member Ismir, who is a Sunni, explains, "Sport is beyond any religious difference. We go to this competition in Asia together to represent our country and we all hope to return to Iraq one day."

"Just as sports helped break racial and national barriers, it is now helping break religious barriers," explained John Gehring, International Director of IPSF, an event which highlights the proactive role that sports can play in genuine peace-building.

The Iraqis looked forward to representing their own country at this international competition from July 1-11, 2007, in Asan, South Korea.

A video news release on the Iraqi team, as well as information on IPSF can be seen at (video news release button is on the front page), and on youtube at:

If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.

UPF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible in the United States. Receipts are automatically provided for donations of or above $250.00.

Donate to the Universal Peace Federation: Your donation to support the general programs of UPF.

Donate to the Religious Youth Service (RYS): Your donation will be used for service projects around the world.

Donate to UPF's Africa Projects: Your donation will be used for projects in Africa.

Related Articles

UPF-Russia Hosts 1,500 km Run with Anti-Drug Message

Yoshkar-Ola, Russia—Runners participated in the super-marathon “Children against Drugs—I Choose Sports.”

Swiss Football Event Includes Peace Education

Novazzano, Switzerland—UPF in Ticino Canton, together with the local football club, held the tenth edition of the Peace Cup children's football tournament.

UPF-Russia Holds Children’s Chess Tournament

Moscow, Russia—About 30 children aged 4 to 8 competed in a chess tournament organized by UPF.