It’s official: Manchester United are evil
Last updated July 21 2010 2:10PM
Organised religion faces many threats in the modern world, from the atheism of intellectuals such as Richard Dawkins to the permissive morals of Hollywood. Now, Muslim scholars in Malaysia have identified the latest menace to their faith – football shirts.
Senior clerics in the South-East Asian country have declared that the official shirts of some of the world’s most celebrated teams, including Barcelona and the national teams of Brazil and Portugal, must not be worn by Muslims, and have the power to “erode” religious faith.
Most objectionable of all is the Manchester United strip – because of the trident-wielding red devil which appears in the club’s crest.
“This is very dangerous,” the mufti of the state of Johor, Nooh Gadot, said. “As a Muslim, we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils. It will erode our belief in Islam. There is no reason why we as Muslims should wear such jerseys, either for sports or fashion reasons.”
According to Mr Nooh, even a Red Devils jersey given as a gift must be refused. He said: “It is even more sinful when people realise this is wrong and still buy these jerseys to wear. These Muslims should repent, repent immediately.”
South-East Asia makes little impact in international football competitions, but Malaysians, Thais and Indonesians are passionate football fans, with a particular fondness for the English Premier League.
A few years ago, the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, caused a controversy with a proposal to use taxpayers’ money to buy Liverpool FC. From 2007 to 2008, after being forced into exile by a military coup, he briefly owned Manchester City.
But the most popular club of all is Manchester United, which has official supporters’ clubs in several countries, including Malaysia, and an official merchandise shop in Kuala Lumpur.
Last summer, thousands of fans mobbed the team on its arrival in Kuala Lumpur, after they were forced to cancel an exhibition match in Indonesia because of a suicide bomb in the Jakarta hotel where they were to have stayed.
Several other strips, including those of Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Barcelona and Norway, have been declared un-Islamic because they bear the image of the cross.
“Of course in Islam we don’t allow people to wear this sort of thing,” the mufti of the state of Perak, Harussani Zakaria, said. “Devils are our enemies. Why would you put their picture on you and wear it? You are only promoting the devil.”
Since its independence from Britain in 1963, Malaysia has avoided the religious conflicts that have caused bloodshed in countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.
But over the past few years there have been growing religious tensions between secular and conservative Muslims, and between the small majority of Malays – who by law are all Muslim – and the Chinese and Indian minorities, who are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh.
Earlier this year, there were arson attacks on churches after a row over the right of Christians to use the Malay word “Allah” to refer to their God.
Last year, a 32-year old mother was sentenced to caning for drinking a can of beer, and Muslim demonstrators outraged Hindu opinion by marching with the head of a dead cow, an animal sacred to Hinduism, to oppose the construction of a proposed temple.
Just confirms what was always believed...!