Friday, July 23, 2010

A Devilish Viewpoint

Are you a worshiper of the Devils? Well, if not a worshiper, perhaps an enthusiast, or even a fanatical follower? 

So that you’re not confused, I should be explicit that the Devils I’m referring to in this case are the Red Devils of Manchester United. 

You see – as a die-hard Liverpool fan, I certainly cannot be accused of having any soft spot for the Red Devils. But I have no problem with those who are drawn to them. After all, some of my own family members and closest friends are enchanted by the Red Devils. My motto has always been: to each his own.

But apparently my Muslims friends who are admirers of the Red Devils will have to watch out lest they get accused of worshiping an outfit that touts the image of the devil on its emblem, and thus for indulging in what could be deemed as “un-Islamic.”

The Red Devils aside, apparently these clerics are also of the view that Muslims ought to refrain from identifying with or donning the football jerseys of teams such as Brazil, Portugal, Barcelona, Serbia and Norway as they have images of the cross – a symbol of Christianity - on their emblem. 

What a predicament indeed.

Coming across this news report reminded me the fatwa that was apparently proclaimed against by the National Fatwa Council in 2008 calling for a ban on yoga for Muslims.

While the public furor that yoga episode created led to the council apparently retreating on its professed objection of yoga, this latest revelation of certain clerics’ views certainly suggest that there are enough so-called religious scholars out there who seem to have a keen eye and concern for truly corrupting influences.

As a matter of fact, following the ‘fatwa on yoga’ fiasco, I wrote a column suggesting that perhaps these religious scholars might want to consider a ban of football itself. The following is an excerpt of my reasoning for why these so-called religious scholars out to consider banning football:

Seems like a perfectly legitimate point, does it not? Well, at least if you subscribe to the logic of these clerics. But alas, that didn’t seem forthcoming and no such ban ever came about.

But not even two years removed, some clerics did after all pick up on the corrupting influences within football – only not as I had thought they should – considering their peculiar logic.

Instead of a ban on football itself, it seems as if learned clerics such as Nooh Gadot and Harussani Zakaria are more concerned about emblems on jerseys or the flags of certain countries.

By the way, I wonder just how, according to these learned clerics, Muslim citizens of Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Norway and such countries ought to regard their national flag? Hold it in reverence? Or perhaps they ought to shun it. But I digress….

It is a wonder to me that given all the ways in which religious figures can be a positive influence on shaping our lives, some of these characters nevertheless seem to have a special capacity to truly…uhmm.. astound and astonish.

Back to the issue of the devil, as much as I would like to see the Red Devils perish, I do sympathize with my Muslim brothers and sisters who are passionate about – and proud to wear the emblem of - Manchester United.   

As they say in the red half of Liverpool, You’ll Never Walk Alone.

G. Krishnan