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Islam No Pork and Daily Prayers. Brazilians Get Their First Muslim Soccer Team

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Tejwant Singh, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    http://www.brazzil.com/component/co...lians-get-their-first-muslim-soccer-team.html
    No Pork and Daily Prayers. Brazilians Get Their First Muslim Soccer Team

    Written by Aurea Santos
    Thursday, 14 February 2013 03:01

    In soccer country Brazil, religion usually stays off the playing field. The teams, their colors and their crowds clash, but the sacred seldom comes into play, except when it's time to give thanks for the victory. At Al Shabab, however, things work differently and religion, in this case Islam, plays a major role in the lives of the players in Brazil's first Muslim soccer team.

    The club was founded in May this year by businessman Gaber Arraji. A son to Lebanese parents and a follower of Islamism, Arraji says that for a few years he had been aware of the lack of Muslim players in the Brazilian scene.

    He then had the idea to establish a team whose foundation comprised Islamic believers. With backing from former Atlético do Paraná player Gustavo Caiche, the project gained shape and was promoted at Islamic schools, and then the first players came up.

    Now, Al Shabab, Arabic for "The Young Ones," has 78 athletes, all under 20 years of age. Only 12 are Muslims, but the rules for training and interaction between athletes adhere to the principles of Islamic religion, which include prayer, controlled foods, and respect towards one's colleagues.

    "The non-Muslim ones observe the times of prayer. The food nowadays is very controlled, because Muslims do not eat pork. The combination of Muslims and non-Muslims is very harmonious, and they even get curious about the religion," says Arraji, who is now the team's president.

    The group also includes a sheikh who is in charge of conducting prayers before training sessions. "Some even want to learn what it takes to revert to Islam," says Arraji of the non-Muslim players.

    The Muslims call the conversion of followers of other religions "reversal," for they believe that embracing Islam means returning to a natural state of the human being. "We point them towards promotional material; we do not impose anything on anyone. We will normally refer them to some book, some website," he explains.

    Aside from prayer and food, the religion also influences the players' demeanor. The Islamic doctrine comes into play in and out of the field. The relationship is one of respect and loving one's neighbor.

    Of course, soccer is a contact sport, it is violent at times, but that doesn't authorize you to denigrate people's images, to call them stupid; the players do not engage in this type of offensive behavior. If they do, they are punished with push ups, squats," says the president.

    At this time, the team is preparing to play Copa São Paulo de Juniores (São Paulo Juniors Cup), due in January 2013. Because it has yet to become affiliated with the São Paulo Soccer Federation (FPA), the team has partnered up with São José, from the same state, so as to be entitled to a slot in the contest. Al Shabab will take up the opening of the Vale do Paraíba region-based São José in the tournament.

    Until the championship begins, the 30 enrolled players are training at the Guarujá municipal stadium, on the coast of São Paulo state. "We intend to become a federation team and enter a few championships. If our partnership with São José works out, we will play the A2 series of the São Paulo championship with them.

    "We want to, but that will largely depend on the arrangements between Al Shabab and São José, and on help from the Islamic community, because you can't have soccer without money. We need to stand out within the community so that we can do well," says Arraji.

    Without its own headquarters, Al Shabab is looking for sponsorships so it can start growing. The president of the team says he is already in talks with some companies.

    "One is in the textile industry, and the others are Islamic organizations that want to help somehow. We favor Muslim or Arab companies when it comes to supporting and sponsoring the team," he says.

    "I believe Al Shabab needs to stand on its own feet from now on. We are trying to attain a good level of competitiveness so we can offer it overseas, to see whether some Islamic or Arab team will take us up as a brother team in Brazil.

    "After that we will look for our own training center. Right now, Al Shabab is interested the most in exchanging players: sending Brazilian players to Arab countries and bringing them over too," says the businessman.

    The team is slowly harnessing a crucial piece of support to any soccer team: the fans. "Right now, Facebook is a great weapon. People are already asking for team shirts, asking when the games will be. We send them the timetables for our games, the shirts are being made right now, as we get our sponsors, and I believe that soon the mosques will be able to sell Al Shabab products to the community," says Arraji.

    From a born-again Christian family, Eduardo Carrilho, 18 years of age, has trained with Botafogo from Ribeirão Preto, and got to Al Shabab through a referral from a friend. "You learn a bit of their culture, even if you're not a Muslim," he says. He claims to not be bothered by the team's religious habits. "This is what they do, and you need to respect it."

    Carrilho hopes that the contest in January will open up new vistas in his career. "I hope to play well in Copa São Paulo and get a bigger team. Copa São Paulo is a shop window," he says.

    After training at three traditional teams, Jabaquara, São Caetano and Santos, Mohammed Orra, aged 17, has been with Al Shabab for seven months now. A Muslim, he points out the differences between his current team and the previous ones.

    "The programming is different. During Ramadan (the holy month in which Muslims fast during the day), we trained in the evening so as not to play on an empty stomach," he says. "The food is different, there is no pork. And there is never practice at praying time, so the two don't conflict," he says.

    In the field, however, soccer is always soccer. "The playing is the same, be it here or at any other team. It's all the same," he says.
     
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  3. Rory

    Rory
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    A little pointless but whatever. :whatzpointsing:
     
  4. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Rory ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    For you it may be pointless which is understandable but it is a big thing for me and also for many others I have talked to. Brasil is the largest Catholic country in the world and it is the Mecca of soccer. No pun intended.

    First a bit of back ground, I lived in Brasil from 1975 to 1985. When I lived there, there were no Muslims living there except I met some from Bradford who were working for the multinationals. With the result there was no mosque there either.

    There were lots of people from the Middle East descent though, mainly from Lebanon and Syria, and they still are, but most of them are Christians or Jews. In fact we had the Governor of the State of São Paulo, the richest state in South America by the name of Paulo Maluf, a Christian of the Middle Eastern descent.

    You also may have heard of Edmund Safra a billionaire banker who was murdered by his butler who started some fire in the heavily secure apartment in Monaco in 1999. He was a Brasilian from Lebanese-Jewish descent. The brothers owned The Republic Bank of New York which got into problem with the Feds for money laundering. Banco Safra in Brasil is one of the largest banks owned by the Safra brothers.

    The Muslims started coming to the Tri-border city in the late 80’s which was called Puerto Stroessner, now called- Ciudad del Este-, originally named after Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, the Paraguayan despot whose 35-year reign marked an uninterrupted period of repression in his country, which became a haven for Nazi war criminals, deposed dictators and smugglers. He was forced out in 1989 by the military and was sent to Brasil in exile where he eventually died in 2006.

    Puerto Stroessner borders Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay, hence called the Tri-border City. It is a duty free port and is the smuggling haven for drugs and especially for electronics to Brasil at that time because of very high custom duties on goods. The Muslims came and set up electronics shops there.

    The city also became the gateway for Hezbollah which bombed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992. Many mosques opened in the southern part of Brasil, in Argentina and Paraguay because of this influx. It was easy to get “the Green Card” for Paraguay.

    My only aim to explain this to you is for you to have a bit of history and the culture and why it is surprising for many including myself for Brasil to have a “Sharia” based soccer team. This shows how Brasil is very tolerant and accepting.

    You know very well that there are many Muslim owners of the European Soccer teams including the UK, France, Italy and others. None of these owners tried to create or can create a Muslim soccer team in Europe. In fact there is a lot of racism in the European soccer world. Recently, a Greek soccer player was shown with a Nazi salute after the game.

    Having a Muslim soccer team in the Mecca of Soccer is a shameless flaunting of arrogance and disrespect to the country and its cultural richness of openness in my opinion. It is not an all-inclusive gesture the way the Brasilian culture is where the pre-slavery black culture is still celebrated. In fact, many African Americans go to the North Eastern State of Bahia to re-introduce themselves to their African roots.

    And, one more thing, the Al Shabab wants to play in São José dos Campos,a city named after the Catholic Saint which is a stone's throw from another famous Catholic City called Aparecida. It is home to and named after the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brasil, declared so by Pope Pius XI in 1929. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI delivered speeches there during their trips to Brasil. It is a pilgrim haven for the Catholics from around the world. Aparecida receives more than 7 million tourists a year making it the most popular religious pilgrimage site in Latin America. These pilgrims come to visit the Basilica containing the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida.

    Let’s see how it “plays out”. My whole point of explaining the cultural and historical aspects of this country are for you to have inkling how deeply rooted it is in Catholicism,yet open to all. I was raised in The UK myself and I know what racism is like. In Brasil, I was treated like one of them even better because of my turban.

    So, in my opinion it is an encroachment from the cultural and religious view point by manufacturing an all Muslim soccer team in the most tolerant country in the world where Soccer itself is the religion. It may not matter to you and understandably you do not see any point in this at all but it matters to me and I am a Sikh.
     
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    #3 Tejwant Singh, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013
  5. Rory

    Rory
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    Thanks for the background Tejwant ji, it does seem more important in perspective.
     
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  6. GSingh1984

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    The Muslims call the conversion of followers of other religions "reversal," for they believe that embracing Islam means returning to a natural state of the human being.
    -
    O, :kudifacepalm:

    -
    "We point them towards promotional material; we do not impose anything on anyone. We will normally refer them to some book, some website," he explains.

    But, never the books rights cuz that would 'expose' the 'truth' to them?

    Just get them into the community, and know enough to fear hell and death for leaving.
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    GSingh1984 ji

    Once again, what is your point? I also don't want to have to say my worst fears are being met. That the use of small mobile devices lowers the level of thought and conversation to grunts because you have to do it fast and keep it short.
     
  8. GSingh1984

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    Point is, to counter any subtle suggestion that this some sort of loving group, that accepts all and is out for the good of humanity.

    Not on a phone, I said I wouldn't post from there as it makes no sense.

    --
    You, really have to understand what's going on to know that what seems to be sweet on the surface has a very sour under-belly.

    I already stopped adding additional posts, I figure the point has been made and enough people have seen it to spread it and start a small movement.

    Hopefully people around the globe will hear it. :kaurkhalsaflagred:
     
  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    This is actually very rude and again makes clear that you stand on strawman arguments. Who are you of all people to tell me of all people that I don't know what is going on? Chill, man and do an objective assessment before you go off half-tilt again. Thanks.
     
  10. GSingh1984

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    No, didn't mean it like that towards you, l.ol. I meant study the background philosophy more, cuz the whole article reads like some dribble where at the end the author is saying accept these people, who bring Sharia, and accept Sharia.

    I'm agreeing with Tejwant Singh, however I'm being a loose cannon by posting faster than I can think.

    In Brasil, I was treated like one of them even better because of my turban. -
    @Tejwant Singh ji, if I may ask were you in the better areas?

    And, so is the discrimination against favela dwellers economic or does it have a racial basis to it too in your opinion.
     
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  11. aristotle

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    Even I am posting from my Symbian Belle mobile device. :D
     
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Then there is no excuse is there? Thanks for the feedback. lol My fears are dismissed. Now I have an objective prroof of an example of high standard to show all transgressors.
     
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