The story of how a Muslim soccer team pulled out of a match against a gay soccer team in France has been running in – mainly – the gay press for the last few days, though Reuters has a good summary:
An amateur Muslim soccer team has provoked an outcry in France after refusing to play against a team which promotes homosexual rights and has gay players.
The Creteil Bebel Muslim team pulled out of its planned tie with Paris Foot Gay (PFG) at the weekend, saying it went against their religious beliefs to play against homosexuals.
In fact, the team spokesperson told Reuters: “As a Muslim, I have the right not to play against homosexuals because I don’t share their ideas.” Another explained to a local radio station: “We’re sorry if anyone feels insulted. (But) as a Muslim I still have the right to decide not to play because I don’t agree with their philosophy.”
This brings me to my, admittedly, provocative headline. Regrettably, the only conclusion I can come to is that the Muslim players were afraid they may be infected or contaminated by contact with the gay team.
Presumably they play against teams who are perhaps Christian or Atheist. These are not views they share or philosophies they agree with either, but it doesn’t seem to cause a problem. I suspect that some of the teams they play might enjoy a beer after the game, perhaps with pork-crackling snacks – scraps of which they may fling to Fido, the team’s canine mascot. Maybe there are players in rival teams who work for banks which charge interest or allow their wives to dress immodestly. Perhaps some of their rivals may even have sex with women who are not their wives.
None of these differences in views or disagreements over philosophy appear to compel the Muslim team to pull out of matches against other teams in their league.
Imagine the uproar if other teams who took a dim view of Islam refused all contact with Muslim players because of their grave and sincere “philosophical differences”, yet no one seems to have actually challenged the Creteil Bebel club’s spokespeople when they gave this lame “philosophical differences” excuse for their bigotry.
On the plus side, Inayat Bunglawala has been saying some sensible things about Islamic attitudes to lesbian and gay people lately, and I also spotted an advert on the MPACUK website yesterday promoting “Pink Hijab Day” which I can only surmise is a sincere effort by Asgar Bukhari to connect with his softer, more fabulous, inner-Diva!