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Passion Islam I January 2010 SPORT I 19
Playing a Starring role
This month we speak to Starr Zaman Physical Activities
officer at the Hamara Centre in Beeston, Leeds
Q Tell us a bit about your family team and the discipline involved - all causes and think some of this time
background of these things are also important to should also be proportioned to rugby
My family came from Mongolia and Islam so Rugby league fitted in well as I do believe that the goodness and
the tribal areas of Afghanistan near with being a Muslim. discipline the game brings are in line
the North west frontier province. They with the basic beliefs and morals of
came to Sheffield in the 1960’s where Q Tell us about how Rugby league these communities.
my dad worked in the steel industry. is now part of your working life?
Eventually my family relocated to I wanted to get more people who Q Is there anything else you would
Dewsbury for religious reasons and you wouldn’t normally associate like to add?
my dad was involved in building the with Rugby League involved in the I think the RFL is very progressive in
first mosque in Dewsbury. sport and as the Physical Activities working with and meeting the needs
officer for Hamara I worked with the of BME communities especially on
Q How did you get involved in RFL, Leeds Sport Development and match days and the RFL has worked
Rugby League? Beeston Broncos to introduce rugby really hard to encourage groups to get
My older brother got into Rugby session at Cross Flatts Park Beeston involved in the sport at a grass roots
league first and played for Thornhill and encourage young people from level. I also believe that it’s going to
- he was massive - someone you all backgrounds to get involved. I take a lot of time to get the next Ikram
didn’t really mess with! I followed him then realised I needed to get some but I think as a Governing body we are
and started playing Rugby League coaching qualifications and I was on definitely heading in the right direction
for Westborough High School in the first BME level 1 coaching course in doing the basics right.
Dewsbury. Then after school I stopped that the RFL set up earlier this year.
playing until I saw Dewsbury Celtic A few months ago I got a job working Q What of the future?
practicing in the park and I asked the for the Connecting Communities I would like to see more people from
coach how to get involved. From then project which is managed by Ikram different backgrounds playing Rugby
on I played for the team as a prop and Butt and aims to develop sports League at all levels and personally
centre but mostly a winger. opportunities for BME people in Leeds I would like to continue what I am
My Heroes as a youngster were and the surrounding areas. I have now doing, delivering Rugby League to
An Invitation
Martin Offiah, Mal Meninga, Ikram completed my level 2 and after about the community and hope eventually
Butt, and the great Ellery Hanley. a year of discussions got the Mufti of to become a coach educator!
the Dewsbury Mosque to allow us to I hope to be working on the
Q What drew you to Rugby league run weekly rugby sessions throughout scholarship programme for Leeds
as a sport? December at the mosque - I think this Rhinos come 2010 season and further
My love of the game came from is a first and the Mufti is very forward develop links and opportunities for the
to add us
the fact that the contact part of the thinking and I am looking forward to various minority ethnic groups through
game was a chance to channel your seeing what happens with this project! out Yorkshire.
aggressions in a positive way, the I think that a lot of BME communities
importance of working together as a give up their time voluntarily for various Courtesy RFL In League together
Ex-Liverpool and Everton star
Abel Xavier reverts to Islam
Fomer Liverpool and Everton Xavier, 37, joined Liverpool from Xavier said: ‘It’s an emotional
defender star Abel Xavier has quit Everton in 2002 and scored twice in goodbye and I hope to participate in
football and reverted to Islam. The 21 appearances for the club. something very satisfying in a new
Portugal star will now go by the name He also played in two spells for stage of my life. ‘In moments of grief,
of Faisal Xavier and will embark on Middlesbrough. I have found comfort in Islam. Slowly,
humanitarian projects. He moved to Major League Soccer I learned a religion that professes
He last played for LA Galaxy in club LA Galaxy to play out the final peace, equality, freedom and hope.
2008 and he has now decided to give games of his career alongside David
up on his career. Beckham. www.passionislam.com
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