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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

12 October 2005

A soccer fatwa

In case you have not read it, I suggest you take a look at a soccer fatwa (religious decree) that was issued a couple of years ago and which recently made its appearance in the Saudi daily Al-Watan (full text at MEMRI, here). Believed to have been issued by Sheikh 'Abdallah Al-Najdi (whoever that is) it reads (some highlights):

"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.

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.

12. When you finish playing, be careful not to talk about the game, and not to say 'we play better than the opponent,' or 'so-and-so is a good player,' etc. Moreover, you should speak about your body, its strength and its muscles, and about the fact that you are playing as [a means of] training to run, attack, and retreat in preparation for [waging] jihad for Allah's sake.

13. If one of you inserts the ball between the posts and then starts to run so that his companions will run after him and hug him, like the players in America and France do, you should spit in his face, punish him, and reprimand him, for what do joy, hugging, and kissing have to do with sports?”

At least there is doubt about whether the fatwa can really be traced to the hadith (the Prophetic tradition) since Mohamed probably didn’t spend much time talking about soccer when he was alive.

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