16 October, 2006

London Olympics and Ramadan

This Is London:
The 2012 London Olympics have been plunged into controversy by the discovery that the Games will clash with Ramadan, the most holy month in the Islamic calendar.
. . .
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, an imam on the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: "I'm sure the athletes will seek advice from their scholars.

"They are obviously going to be at a disadvantage because other competitors will be drinking and keeping up their energy levels.

"But they are athletes and I am sure they will train their bodies to cope with this.

"A Muslim might feel it would have been nice to avoid this month but life doesn't stop for Muslims during Ramadan even though they are fasting.

"The best thing for a Muslim is to continue his or her life as normal. This is the real test."


Mme Cyn said...

Fair enough. It's only in the Gulf that normal life stops anyway. Wy should this be a problem? Oh, please don't tell me that not rescheduling the Olympics so that it doesn't conflict with a lunar month is another deliberate insult to Muslims....

bandicoot said...

U.S. broadcaster NBC has requested to move the swimming finals [in the 2008 Beijing Olympics] from the evening to morning hours so that the competition can be shown live in U.S. prime-time.” Read more here.

Well, I guess participating Muslim countries can follow suite and ask for the competitions of the London Olympics where they have athletes to be done after iftar time!

Seabee said...

Bandicoot, that's spot on - commercial considerations are used to change the timings of all kinds of sporting events.

As for Ramadan, I always understood that athletes/sportspeople competing in major events were given special permission to fast at a later date.

Maybe someone could let us know whether that's the case...

nzm said...

Seabee: As a general rule and outside of any special religious occasions such as Ramadan, Lent and Yom Kippur, I think that lenience is also granted to devout people who have to compete on their holy day too.

Some of the more devout refuse point blank to play sport on their holy day. For instance we've had some cases of NZ rugby players refusing to play games on Sundays because of their Christian beliefs. It caused a kerfuffle, and some players' careers were slightly dented because they weren't available for major games, but in the end it was all worked out amicably.

Tim Newman said...

For instance we've had some cases of NZ rugby players refusing to play games on Sundays because of their Christian beliefs.

I believe that was the Flanker Michael Jones in the 1987 World Cup final?

nzm said...

Tim: Yes - that's right. He was one of the first to stand up and say that he wouldn't play on Sundays, and then a few more Christian Pacific Islanders and Maori players followed his lead.

After the initial furore died down (mostly generated by the press/media), the NZ Rugby Board (NZRB) was very understanding, and because the whole affair was handled openly and amicably by both sides, and with a lot of direct communication between all concerned parties, there were compromises reached which allowed a win/win situation.

The NZRB did not penalise players for what could be termed insubordination and a breach of players' contracts for refusing to play on Sunday, and if they could, they moved matches to other days. Christian players could arrange with their coaches not to play on Sundays of that was their choice.

I would hope that Mme Cyn's comment, surmising that some of the more out-spoken Muslim societies will over-react (with similar comments to what she has suggested) to this situation with the London Olympics, does not occur, as this is all that the press will pick up on, and it will escalate out of control.

I trust that all sides will handle the debate with maturity and wanting to seek a resolution that will satisfy all parties if this is possible.

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