Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wahhabist Soccer Bashing

I always thought Americans had cornered the market on soccer bashing. However, the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) brings word that extremist clerics in Saudi Arabia have denounced the sport as a "infidel" institution and encouraged players to abandon the game and go kill "infidels and apostates" in Iraq instead. MEMRI quotes one such fatwa as follows:

"1. Don't play soccer with four lines [surrounding the field], since this is the way of the non-believers, and the international soccer rules require drawing [these lines] before playing.

"2. One should not use the terminology established by the non-believers and the polytheists, like: 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick,' 'goal,' and 'out of bounds.' Whoever pronounces these terms should be punished, reprimanded, kicked out of the game, and should even be told in public: 'You have come to resemble the non-believers and the polytheists, and this has been forbidden.'

"3. If one of you falls during the game and breaks his hand or his foot, or if the ball hits his hand, he shall not say 'foul' and shall not stop playing because of his injury. The one who caused his injury shall not receive a yellow or a red card, but rather the case shall be judged according to Muslim law in the case of a broken bone or an injury. The injured player shall exercise his rights according to the shari'a, as [is stated] in the Koran, and you must testify together with him that so-and-so tripped him up intentionally.

"4. Do not set the number [of players] according to the number of players used by the non-believers, the Jews, the Christians, and especially the vile America. In other words, 11 players shall not play together. Make it a larger or a smaller number.

Okay, let me make sure I've got this straight: no lines on the field; no use of "infidel" terminology"; Sharia law instead of a referee; and no 11 players a side. Sounds like fun, we'll have to try this at our next pickup game. Or not.

As MEMRI points out, these fatwas are so ridiculous that most Saudis have rejected them. Still, they offer a fascinating glimpse into the worldview of radical Islamists.


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