Newcastle United’s decision to send home fans wearing culturally inappropriate attire has sparked outrage among some on social media. But it also reflects an ongoing debate about what constitutes appropriate dress in the modern world

The “is arab an ethnicity” is a question that many people have been asking. In the UK, Newcastle backtrack over fans wearing ‘culturally inappropriate’ Arab attire.

Newcastle United has walked back an earlier statement asking supporters not to wear clothes or head coverings inspired by traditional Arabic garb to games because it may be viewed as “culturally unacceptable.”

Newcastle stated in a statement on Saturday that people who choose to wear “acceptable culturally-inspired apparel” may do so, and that the club or its owners are never upset by it.

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At games and celebrations outside the stadium, a handful of Newcastle supporters have dressed up in robes and head coverings to commemorate the club’s ownership by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium.

“Following the purchase of the club two weeks ago, the new owners have been overwhelmed by the reception of the local community,” Saturday’s statement added.

“Part of that welcome has been the supporters who have dressed in culturally traditional clothes, including head coverings.”

“Those who desire to show their support for the club by wearing culturally appropriate apparel should do so as they see fit.” We welcome people from all walks of life.

“To underline what we previously said, neither the club nor its new owners were offended by the costume donned, and we welcome our fantastic supporters’ overt demonstrations of support and acceptance.”

Prior to the recent announcement, equality and inclusion organization Kick It Out was apparently planned to hold education seminars for fans in Newcastle to explain how mimicking Arabs might be deemed racist or culturally inappropriate.

Newcastle United has requested that non-Arab supporters refrain from wearing Arab garb to games. Image courtesy of Visionhaus/Getty Images

Police are also looking into a banner protesting Newcastle’s acquisition that was exhibited by Crystal Palace supporters at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The banner at Palace, which was displayed after the 1-1 draw between the two teams, was aimed at the Premier League’s ownership test.

“Police received a complaint of an inflammatory banner exhibited by Crystal Palace supporters on Saturday 23 October,” Croydon Metropolitan Police wrote on Twitter.

“Officers are evaluating the information and conducting investigations. Allegations of racial harassment will be investigated thoroughly.”

Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized the Newcastle takeover.

In a post on Twitter, Palace supporter club Holmesdale Fanatics claimed responsibility for the banner and continued their assault on the Newcastle takeover.

“The Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle has deservedly drawn international censure and outrage,” the statement added.

“To give this contract the ‘thumbs up’ at a time when the Premier League is pushing women’s football and inclusive initiatives like rainbow armbands illustrates the League’s cynical agenda where money come first.”

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, directed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, provided 80% of the funding for the Newcastle buyout.

The Premier League, on the other hand, got “legally binding” guarantees that PIF and Saudi Arabia were clearly separated.

The decision, according to the fans organization, “made a mockery” of the “Owners and Directors” exam.

The Premier League did not respond to a request for comment right away.

The Saudi government dismisses charges of human rights violations, claiming that it is defending national security from radicals and foreign actors.

This story was based on data from Reuters.

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