Monday, June 12, 2006

Islamists vs. The World Cup

Unlike the majority of Americans, the World Cup is my favorite sporting event. With the Army justifiably taking up the bulk of my time right now, I don't really have the opportunity to watch this year's competition like I have in the past. I missed today's USA match, for example, which probably turned out to be a good thing.

Of course, not everyone is a fan of soccer and the World Cup. As an American, I've certainly found that to be the case. However, the ranks of those who despise the World's Game go far beyond Americans ranting about "furriners". In fact, radical Islamists hate soccer just as much as they do anything else that promises to bring joy and happiness to people:

-A Saudi cleric recently warned his listeners that they would have to answer to Allah for watching the cup.

-In Somalia, Islamist militia, who seem determined to become the Taliban of East Africa, banned showings of World Cup matches.

Of course, the majority of Arabs and Muslims are as excited about the World Cup as most of humanity is. Iraq the Model quotes the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada to bring us this encouraging story:

In the presence of Basra's governor Mohammed al-Wa'ili and the members of the city council, politicians and clerics signed the 'Germany W.C. peace treaty'.

On the occasion of the beginning of the world cup in Germany, politicians, clerics and tribal sheiks gathered at the Basra businessmen center to sign the 'Basra Peace Declaration' which is basically a call for peace and friendship to create an appropriate environment for Basrans to watch and enjoy the matches of the world cup without fear. On the honor of signing the document, a party was held where speeches were made and gifts from English superstar David Beckham were given away.

Let's hope the Beautiful Game manages to give the people of Basra at least a few days of peace.


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