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Passion Islam I August 2010


SPORT I 21


Spanish World champions could join Flotilla


siege has deprived the 1.5 million Gazans of food, fuel and other necessities.


European pro-Palestinian activists are reportedly asking internationally- renowned sports champions to join a potential Gaza-bound relief convoy. The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is seeking to ensure the attendance of Iker Casillas, Spanish goalkeeper who wrested the 2010 World Cup on the national squad, and his countryman and world’s top tennis player, Rafael Nadal, Israeli website Ynetnews reported quoting London- based daily Al-Hayat as saying. The seaborne mission, dubbed Freedom Flotilla II, would leave in September to break Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv put the Gaza blockade


into effect in mid-June 2007, reinforcing the restrictions it had already put in place. Ever since, the


ECESG also helped organize the Freedom Flotilla, which came under a bloody Israeli attack before reaching the coastal sliver. The assault in international waters killed nine Turkish activists, triggering global outrage and worldwide pleas for an international investigation. Casillas, meanwhile, shunned championship celebrations in his native land, citing “deep sorrow over what happened in Gaza,” the Al- Hayat report said. “It’s unthinkable that people take part (in the celebrations) and laugh after seeing what is going on in the Gaza Strip”. The jubilations are “partial, as long as the Gaza Strip remains besieged,” he added.


Nadal also condemned “Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip” during Operation Cast Lead, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians at the turn of 2009.


Muslims in Malaysia ban Man Utd shirts


Muslim leaders ruled that images on football shirts of crosses, alcohol brands and devils are an insult to Allah and should not be worn. Manchester United is a hugely popular brand in the Muslim- majority country and the club’s summer tour last year included two games against a Malaysia XI played in front of capacity 40,000 crowds.


Other football shirts deemed unacceptable include Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Barcelona and Norway because their crests all carry images of a cross. “There is no excuse for wearing such garments because it means, as a Muslim, you are idolising the symbol of another religion,” said


Datuk Nooh Gadot, the Mufti of Johor state. The Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, said that Muslims wearing such football shirts “leads to a path of sin”. In March, Manchester United signed a sponsorship deal with communications group Telekom Malaysia, further raising their profile as the leading sports team in the country.


“Anyone who went on our tour of


the Far East last summer knows the strength of feeling that Malaysians have for the club,” David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive, said.


Malaysian supporters of the club expressed anger at the ban on fan websites.


Muslim girls get football chance


A Sheffield sports group is giving Muslim girls the chance to take up football after receiving a grant from a local charitable trust.


Sistahood aims to engage 40 young women from the Shiregreen and Burngreave area of Sheffield in regular coached football activities at Concord Sports Centre.


The group has received £2,000 from football’s equality and inclusion campaign Kick it Out to increase Muslim girls’ participation in sport. The lessons will teach girls aged 14- 21-years-old for six months. Coaches from Sheffield


Wednesday’s community programme will be delivering the training sessions and will give participants the opportunity to visit Hillsborough Stadium to watch the first team in action. At the match they can also have their photograph taken on the pitch during the Kick Racism Out week of action in October.


There is also the chance for two players to train for an FA Level 1 qualification in football coaching to provide them with increased employment opportunities. Sessions started on July 20 at Concord Sports Centre. For more information, call 0114 257 0053 or visit www.concordsportscentre. co.uk.


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