I am quoting from a very interesting post by Riverbend the famous Iraqi blogger entitled "Viva Muqtada..." on a silly, ignorant and disparaging fatwa Muqtada al-Sadr has issued against football. I mean, all the things that are occurring in Iraq like the erosion of women's rights and the banning of sports and all tell us what Iraq is turning into. Anyway, this is the quotation:
As it turns out, Muqtada has a fatwa against football (soccer). I downloaded it and this is a translation of what he says when someone asks him for a fatwa on football and the World Cup:Why didn't George Bush and his minions just ask the professors and intellectuals in the United States like Noam Chomsky and Edward Said about a thing called "reality" before leaping into Iraq? Freedom and democracy were never the vocabulary but the media of the mission. The largesse was delivered to the people of Iraq through cluster bombs and napalm. The poor of this world weep while the fat cats in ties and coats chuckle at the sight of the riches gushing from the anvils. The blood is never seen.
“In reality, my father's position on this topic isn't deficient... Not only my father but Sharia also prohibits such activities which keep the followers too occupied for worshiping, keep people from remembering [to worship]. Habeebi, the West created things that keep us from completing ourselves (perfection). What did they make us do? Run after a ball, habeebi… What does that mean? A man, this large and this tall, Muslim- running after a ball? Habeebi, this ‘goal’ as it is called… if you want to run, run for a noble goal. Follow the noble goals which complete you and not the ones that demean you. Run after a goal, put it in your mind and everyone follows their own path to the goal to satisfy God. That is one thing. The second thing, which is more important, we find that the West and especially Israel, habeebi the Jews, did you see them playing soccer? Did you see them playing games like Arabs play? They let us keep busy with soccer and other things and they've left it. Have you heard that the Israeli team, curse them, got the World Cup? Or even America? Only other games... They've kept us occuppied with them- singing, and soccer, and smoking, stuff like that, satellites used for things which are blasphemous while they occuppy themselves with science etc. Why habeebi? Are they better than us- no we're better than them.”
Important note: Islamic Sharia does not prohibit soccer/football or sports- it’s only prohibited by the version of Sharia in Muqtada’s dark little head. I wonder what he thinks of tennis, swimming and yoga…
I listened to the fatwa, with him getting emotional about playing football, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Foreign occupation and being a part of a puppet government- those things are ok. Football, however, will be the end of civilization as we know it, according to Muqtada. It’s amusing- they look nothing alike- yet he reminds me so much of Bush. He can barely string two sentences together properly and yet, millions of people consider his word law. So when Bush raves about the new ‘fledgling Iraqi government’ ‘freely elected’ into power, you can take a look at Muqtada and see one of the fledglings. He is currently one of the most powerful men in the country for his followers.
So this is democracy. This is one of the great minds of Bush’s democratic Iraq.