Sunday, July 07, 2013
Islam and football
The BBC have on iPlayer a programme called The Muslim Premier League, "To mark the start of Ramadan this programme, narrated by Colin Murray, speaks to star players and top managers to find out what impact Muslims are having on the Premier League."
The introductory blurb then goes on to say,
"Twenty years ago there were no Muslims in the Premier League. Now there are nearly forty - enough for three football teams. To mark the start of Ramadan this programme, narrated by Colin Murray, speaks to star players and top managers to find out what impact Muslims are having on the English game."
On blogs it is very easy to have knee jerk reaction to Islam but what is interesting is the way that it presents Islam as both a masculine and a working class religion, it deals with how Islamic players deal with the outward signs of Islam, not gambling or drinking, keeping Ramadan, daily prayer and football culture.
Yes, I am sure this is a bit of proselytism, Channel 4 are apparently broadcasting the call to prayer during Ramadan, I suspect the BBC will say that Islam is now seen as Britain's working class religion, and it this, along with acceptance of Islam that is being explored. Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity are more or less invisible in sport, in working class and youth or popular culture, except possibly through a badly made sign of the Cross, or a rosary worn round the neck and that could be interpreted as either a sign of faith or a sign of being a drug dealer or gang member, there was a time when rosaries were kept in the pocket rather than used as costume jewellery.
Dr Shaw had a piece on the loss of the working classes to the Catholic Church, I tend to agree with him on the causes for their absence, what is significant is that Islam has taken the place once held by Catholicism which someone described dismissively as "the faith of a number Irish physicians and the working classes"
Do watch the half hour film before commenting.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake