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Jan 27, 2013

Beitar fans protest adding Muslim players

JERUSALEM -- Israeli police have arrested three soccer fans for chanting anti-Muslim slogans at a game while protesting the Beitar Jerusalem team's intention to sign two Muslim players.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says two suspects were fined and banned from the stadium for the rest of the season. The additional suspect was scheduled to appear in court Sunday.

Fans unfurled signs alluding to the team's unofficial tradition of not signing Arab or Muslim players. Beitar fans have been punished in the past for similar behavior.

Parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin, himself a Beitar fan, told Army Radio the slogans were akin to a team in Germany banning Jewish players. He spoke on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Team owner Arkady Gaydamak told Army Radio he was determined to sign two Chechen players.

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