Muslims won’t play with the gays!

We often see claims of racism and homophobia in sport today, more often than not though it is the fans who are accused of chants that are not as PC as they perhaps should be.

So when news of this story reached my in box from a few sources, I dug around and to be honest was appalled.

A Muslim amateur football team Creteil Bebel has pulled out of its planned game this weekend with Paris Foot Gay (PFG), saying it was against their religious beliefs to play against homosexuals.

In fact, Zahir Belgarbi, one of the team directors told Reuters: “As a Muslim, I have the right not to play against homosexuals because I don’t share their ideas.”Another team member explained to a local French 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.”

So, if it is the philosophy of being gay they have an issue with they would never play football against any other team in the world unless they were a Muslim team, or do I have that all wrong?

Paris Foot Gay was set up in 2003 in the poor suburbs of Paris to fight homophobia which was rampant in those parts of Paris and they have proved their very worth and although have had some insults over the years never on such a scale as this.

Paris Foot Gay are being supported not only by Paris authorities but also human rights groups and they have also said they make take legal action against Creteil Bebel.

For crying out loud, if the boot had been on the other foot (sorry about the pun) can you imagine the racism claims, and rightly so, so why can a team be openly homophobic and get away with it?

I write this and say this as an openly gay man – Creteil Bebel are not doing themselves or the Muslim community itself any favours, mainly because of the words they chose to use “I don’t agree with their philosophy.” The reason I say this is because surely they don’t agree with the philosophy of Christianity, or Catholicism and well, people who eat pork?

They have never refused to play against any of those from what I can ascertain so why is a team that is fighting homophobia and discrimination any different?

I think this is a sad day not just for sport, but for diversity itself.

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20 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 10th Oct '09 - 9:40am

    Wait, what? Being gay is a philosophy now?

  • Sunder Katwala 10th Oct '09 - 9:58am

    It is a good idea to challenge this attitude.

    But I think the headline “Muslims won’t play with the gays” is very unfortunate.

    You unfortunately take at face value the claim of the speaker to authentically represent all Muslim opinion, which is wrong and has a polarising impact. There will be too much homophobia within Muslim communities, as in other communities, but it is essential to work with gay Muslims, liberal Muslims and all others who believe in equality to challenge this effectively.

    These type of generalisations ought to be challenged. They assist those on both sides who think a ‘clash of civilisations’ inevitable, or who wish to make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The idea of a single “Muslim community” is rather regressive, and fails to reflect how much issues of citizenship and integration are being constructively contested and shaped by progressive Muslim voices. I hope LibDems would want to engage with and support such efforts. One good example among many is the London-based City Circle network.

    It is also possible for gay activists or feminists to make over-the-top or reactionary comments – take ‘all men are rapists’ as an example – but do we think these reflect on ‘the gay community’ or ‘the female community’?

  • It would take a great deal of effort to read that headline as a generalization about all muslims.

  • Sunder Katwala 10th Oct '09 - 12:01pm

    Thanks for comments. There was no intention to say ‘you are as bad’ …. so apologies if it came across as that. There was no intention to mitigate or justify the attitude being correctly challenged.

    I was trying to make a point – by contrasting with the non-used ‘female community’ as a synonym for women – about the fuzziness of the oft-used phrases ‘Muslim community’ and ‘gay community’ – which clearly have some meaning, but seem to me excessively homogenising, both when claims are made to speak for and lead them by pressure groups like the MCB, or to challenge them to “speak out” about an issue. (Another example is the so-called “Taxpayers Alliance” which does not speak for me and propagates views rejected by most taxpayers). I am a supporter of constructive feminism, but the mention of women was simply to make the contrast about nomenclature.

    Richard F – It is not quite my place – as an secular, agnostic lapsed Catholic – to lecture Muslims on their understanding or misunderstanding of their own faith, nor would that achieve my goals of helping rather than retarding an equality agenda, but I do share a pro-equality and integration political project with those Muslims and those in any section of society working to entrench ideas of universal human rights and equal citizenship. That is why the Fabian Society has consistently sought to make platforming emerging Muslim voices part of a broader citizenship, integration and equality argument, in a way that might help to undermine and challenges extremist and polarising voices.

    I wrote this about 5 years ago in a manifesto piece for a coherent British citizenship:

    “Billions of overseas dollars have been invested in promoting a narrow extremist politics in Muslim communities in recent years. We need to do more than simply hope this fails. An intelligent integration agenda would take advice from those seeking to create a confident British Muslim identity about what outsiders can do to help, or cease to hinder, their efforts which, if successful, would have the potential to lead and influence debates about Islam and integration across Europe and beyond. Above all, we should recognise the diversity of these debates and tune into the many different voices urgently contesting major political and social debates within Britain’s Muslim communities. With a couple of exceptions, major media organisations seem to have lacked the interest or knowledge to capture this. Nobody can accurately claim to speak for all 1.6 million British Muslims and much more needs to be done”.

  • Libdem Guru 10th Oct '09 - 9:13pm

    another example of muslims showing their bigoted, sexist, racist beliefs and dressing it up as religious ideology.

    we can all play that game!

  • Libdem Guru 10th Oct '09 - 9:19pm

    Re the points of Sunder: unfortunately the MCB seem like a bunch of bigots themselves and their recent PR has not been good (example of the comments about our troops in Iraq). The MCB does not represent many Muslims and for a ‘minority’ group I do not see why the Muslim community should have as much ‘control’ as they wish to have.

    Everyone is equal BUT the majority rule in terms of the democratic process

  • Wouldn’t a more accurate article title have been 11 Parisian Muslims won’t play football against a gay team?
    I am sure you can find 11 nutters in every worldwide community. I recollect Saudi Arabia won’t let you in the country if you have ever visited Israel…

  • If these ‘minority’ groups want to live and work and play in our country then they play by our rules. We have a supremely democratic system and it works.

    Its is not a Muslim or Hindu or Sikh or any other country. And if you really do not like it, then (and i mean this is an entirely honest way and nothing else i assure you) go back to where you came from or move to another country.

    These bigots who constantly play the race or religion card to get what they want is very underhand and so immoral. This is not religion, this is political game playing by individuals and groups.

    We are ALL equal under God’s eyes. Please ALL remember that.

    In a Christian country I am appalled that Christians are being told they cannot do things because it will offend other religions.

    Well, for example a lot of things disgust me about other countries but i do not go there and make trouble all the time. We use our politicians to do that.

  • Herbert Brown 11th Oct '09 - 11:05am

    “If these ‘minority’ groups want to live and work and play in our country then they play by our rules.”

    I suspect they don’t, as they are living in France!

  • I can read…you Herbert.

  • The Quran demands that gays be put to death, so it is hardly surprising that Moslems don’t want to play football with them (in several countries where Moslems are the majority gays actually are put to death).

    BTW, the Quran forbis Moslems to expose their knees, so what are Moslems doing playing football in the first place? (The late Sir Harry Lauder got into a bit of bother in Egypt, if my memory serves me right.)

  • There’s an update.

    Basically their lawyer told them to “shut up and play” it seems.

    Machine translated from the French (La Tribune), some translation quirks, but quite readable.

One Trackback

  • By Daily View 2×2: 15 October 2009 on Thu 15th October 2009 at 8:01 am.

    […] Reeves: The big football game is back on- Paris Foot Gay vs Creteil Bebel An update on a story here on LDV last week. The Director said: “We had rejected playing this match not on the grounds of homophobia, as […]

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