Islamic Solidarity Games – But Why?

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We always try to give a mention to big events in Jakarta or around the archipelago, and tonight’s tv reminded me that some serious soccer is going ahead under the auspices of the above-named games, starting Spetember 22nd.

It appears we have teams from Oman, Palestine, Turkey and Syria, to name but four of the countries squaring up to each other (not sure if the Syrians are sent by the Government or the Obama/Al Qaeda insurrectionists!)

So there it is, a fair-minded ad, but it does make me ask why?

Why ‘Islamic games?’ We don’t have Christian solidarity games, so far as I know, nor Hindu games, nor Buddhist games.

The whole idea sounds weird. One of the nice things about sport is that people play together (or against each other) without regard to creed or ideology. I had some great kick-abouts in the park as a student, with Commies, Trots, separatists, even some left-libs. None of us worried about politics, much less religion, lapsed and church-going Catholics, a Sikh, Proddies like myself.

So how come this Islamic Solidarity thing?

I don’t really know, but will welcome any explanations from readers.

In the meantime, a quick scan for photos of the cheer-leaders this week didn’t turn up anything to match that fave pic of Miss World entrants, which I again include-


bum beauty


burka contest

but maybe these lasses could do the job quite neatly!

POSTSCRIPT – I wrote the above before the Jakarta Post ran an article on the same subect, so must include some interesting facts culled therefrom.

…the athletes, particularly those non-Muslims, do not have to abide by the Islamic dress code.
Even at the beach volleyball and swimming competition, the organizers say, they are allowed to compete in attire that is usually worn when international rules apply.

Good sense. And this next too is also welcome.

“ISG is not a sports event exclusively for Muslim athletes. This is an event for countries, not bogged down by religious faiths. Several participating countries have included in their contingent a number of non-Muslim athletes,” Djoko Pramono, chairman of the central organizers of the Games

Nice to hear, but the question still pops up – why have an Islamic Games? Especially since we’re told that suggestions of applying Islamic clothing rules have been rejected.

Djoko said the organizers did not query about the athletes’ religions and they said it did not concern them how many non-Muslims were in the Games.Jamal Abu Shamallah, one of non-Muslim athletes in the Palestinian team, said their coaches never questioned whether he was Muslim or not.
Interesting indeed. But most refreshing of all was his basketball team manager Aziz Mohammad Ali –
“It’s no different whether Muslim or not Muslim. We are the same because it is not religion games but nations’ games,” he said.

Very healthy outlook, I must admit. One might wish some other people would focus more on loyalty to country rather than sectarian supranational allegiance.