The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

New Soccer Rules 

The guys from the Imam University soccer team have got in touch with me. They were very upset about the way I made fun of them here, but now they'd lost against the team of amputees, so perhaps I had a point, could I give them some advice, would I even like to be the team manager?

I was very flattered by the offer. After all, look at their stadium in the background of this picture, it's really impressive. And I can do the "Get a grip you lot, keep playing like girlies and I'm going to kit you all out in pink" routine as well as anyone. But getting them to any sort of match fitness would be a hopeless task, their idea of fitness training is a 5-mile drive to get a double milk shake.

But I did say that I could help them out. After all, Soccer is a game of rules. And if you can't win according to one set of rules, then you need to change to a set that you can win by. So I said I'd write them new rules that would

So here they are:

1. Don't play soccer with four lines [surrounding the field], since this is the way of the non-believers, and the international soccer rules require drawing [these lines] before playing.

2. One should not use the terminology established by the non-believers and the polytheists, like: 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick,' 'goal,' and 'out of bounds.' Whoever pronounces these terms should be punished, reprimanded, kicked out of the game, and should even be told in public: 'You have come to resemble the non-believers and the polytheists, and this has been forbidden.'

3. If one of you falls during the game and breaks his hand or his foot, or if the ball hits his hand, he shall not say 'foul' and shall not stop playing because of his injury. The one who caused his injury shall not receive a yellow or a red card, but rather the case shall be judged according to Muslim law in the case of a broken bone or an injury. The injured player shall exercise his rights according to the shari'a, as [is stated] in the Koran, and you must testify together with him that so-and-so tripped him up intentionally.

4. Do not set the number [of players] according to the number of players used by the non-believers, the Jews, the Christians, and especially the vile America. In other words, 11 players shall not play together. Make it a larger or a smaller number.

5. Play in your normal clothing, or in pajamas, or something like that, but not in colorful pants and numbered jerseys. Pants and jerseys are not appropriate clothing for Muslims. They are the clothing of the non-believers and of the West, and therefore you must be careful not to wear them.

6. Once you have fulfilled [these] conditions and rules, you must play the entire game with the intention of improving your physical fitness for the purpose of fighting Jihad for Allah's sake and preparing for the time when jihad is needed. One should not waste time in celebrating a false victory.

7. Do not play for 45 minutes, as is the practice among the Jews, the Christians, and in all of the countries of non-belief and atheism. This is also the length of time that is accepted in the soccer clubs of those who have strayed from the righteous path. You must be different than the non-believers, depart from their path, and not imitate them in anything.

8. Do not play in two parts [i.e. halves], but rather in one part or in three parts, so as to be different than the sinful and rebellious, the non-believers and the polytheists.

9. If neither side has defeated the other and neither side has inserted the ball between the posts, do not waste further time [in an extension] or in 'penalty kicks' until someone has won, but rather leave [the field] immediately, since this kind of victory is precisely an imitation of the non-believers and [adoption] of the international soccer rules.

10. Do not appoint someone who follows the players around and is called 'a referee', since, after canceling the international rules such as 'foul,' 'penalty kick,' 'corner kick' and so on, there is no need for his presence. Moreover, his presence is an imitation of non-believers, Jews and Christians, and constitutes adoption of the international [soccer] rules.

11. In the course of the game it is forbidden for groups of youth to gather and watch, since if you are gathering for the sake of sports activity and physical fitness, as you claim, why should they be looking at you? You must make them participate [in order to improve] their physical fitness and prepare for jihad; or else say to them, 'Go propagate Islam and seek out moral corruption in the marketplaces and in the press [in order to correct it], and leave us to improve our physical fitness.'

12. When you finish playing, be careful not to talk about the game, and not to say 'we play better than the opponent,' or 'so-and-so is a good player,' etc. Moreover, you should speak about your body, its strength and its muscles, and about the fact that you are playing as [a means of] training to run, attack, and retreat in preparation for [waging] jihad for Allah's sake.

13. If one of you inserts the ball between the posts and then starts to run so that his companions will run after him and hug him, like the players in America and France do, you should spit in his face, punish him, and reprimand him, for what do joy, hugging, and kissing have to do with sports?

14. You must take the three posts or iron rods which you use to construct [the goal], and into which the ball is kicked, and replace them with just two instead of three. In other words, take out the cross-post or rod… so that [the goal] will not be similar to what is customary among the non-believers, and in order to violate the despotic international soccer rules.

15. Do not do what is known as 'substitution' – that is, putting in a player in place of a player who has been disqualified – since this the custom of the non-believers in America and elsewhere."

Except I didn't write that. No, some Imam did. According to MEMRI, this is the Fatwa that I referred to in this post about Soccer players from Taif going off to be Jihadis. I know, I had to look three times to make sure it wasn't a practical joke. But MEMRI is a reputed organisation, politically not everyone's favorite, but not normally known to make up stories, and certainly not noted for its satire. So I leave you to enjoy it. And the Imam University guys will love it.

Meanwhile, I want the man who wrote it to get in touch with me. He could cover for me when I go on vacation.

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