I didn't think that anything coming out of Iraq could shock me anymore. Not the bombings, the beheadings, the massacres, and the endless parade of innocent victims. But when I read about Muqtada al-Sadr's football fatwa I just about had a cow. Or in his case a pig.
Yes it's true. The sinister wingnut Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a fatwa against soccer. Here's the story from Baghdad Burning -- the remarkable blog of a young Iraqi woman.
"Habeebi, the West creates things that keep us from completing ourselves (perfection) What did they make us do? Run after a ball habeebi....What does that mean? A man, this large and this tall Muslim-running after a ball?
....If you want to run, run for a noble goal..."
"The second thing, which is more important. we find that the West, and especially Israel, Habeebi the Jews, did you see them playing soccer? Have you heard that the Israeli team,curse them, got the World Cup?....They kept us occupied...while they occupy themselves with science etc. Why Habeebi? Are they better than us?No we're better than them..."
Oh well. That explains it. That heap of Egyptian army boots in the Sinai during the 1967 Middle East War. The Egyptian soldiers didn't take them off so they could run faster in the sand. They had just taken them off to play soccer when the dastardly Jews attacked. What unsportsmanlike conduct. Somebody should have showed the Israelis the red card.
Although the whole thing does put a whole new spin on this year's World Cup.
I was planning to cheer for Brazil, Argentina, England and Holland. More or less in that order. As a teenage boy I played soccer in South America in games where everyone could play. Sometimes we were twenty a side, sometimes we were four. But the games went on for hours. And I like the way they play the best. And worship their soccer gods like Ronaldinho and Robinho
But I'll also be cheering for England (Scotland forgive me) because I follow the English Premiership games and like some of their players. Like the Great Rooney, Aaron Lennon, and Theo Walcott. They play like South Americans.
And I like Holland too, just because it's Holland and what it means to Canada.
But now thanks to Muqtada's fatwa I'm going to have to add one more team to my cheering list: the Islamic Republic of Iran. As long as they allow the boys to wear shorts. And don't force them to play in burkas like the girls.
Yes I know.It may seem a rather shocking choice. But there is method to my madness.
First of all I would much rather the Iranians got their national pride kicking a ball, instead of building a bomb.That's obvious.
But secondly, and most importantly, can you imagine what would happen to Muqtada's football fatwa if the Iranian team really did well? I mean Shia pride and all that? If he didn't join in all that chest thumping and horn honking he'd look like a fool or God forgive him....an unbeliever!! (gasp)
The poor desperate Shias of Sadr City would be dancing in the streets. While crazy Muqtada sulked in his mosque. Trying to whip up a fan club for his favourite game: suicide bomber.
Hmm....now that I think of it who says that you can't mix sports and politics?
Hey Muqtada read my red card.
Go Iran go!!!