The political artist on Iraqi football, Ahmad Shah Masoud and Arab stereotypes in his new works

Football, to me, represents the marginalized—a neglected sport in India, its players unknown and unrecognized, and largely without patronage from the state. On the flip side, the sport best represents the movement of civilians on earth—the obvious physical movement of limbs, and also movement in the sense of civil protest or resistance because it is patronized by the marginalized in this part of the world.
Football and football players have been metaphors in my art since 2007. That year, during Bush’s war on Iraq, the Iraqi football team became the Asian champions. The news immediately caught my attention. They were a team that stayed outside Iraq and played for the country—they were Iraq’s exiled heroes. It got me thinking about stereotypes of the Arab and Muslim world and I decided to track their movements.
In my new works—two series of sculpture pieces titled Camel Clichés and Oil Massage, and a series of photographs and paintings called Occupation Stories —the football metaphor goes a step further and encompasses deeper issues of identity, death and memory. These works, done in the last six or seven months in Mumbai, are for a show on contemporary Indian art at the Gemeente Museum, the Hague.
My first tryst with the Iraqi team was in late 2007. It was a tournament in Dubai, and they were one of the teams. In their qualifying matches against China and Australia, the stadium was full of Iraqi boys cheering for their team. They represented an Iraq that we are not aware of. I was like a press photographer, following and capturing them on the field and in their dressing rooms.
It wasn’t difficult to break in. When I said I was Indian, they became very friendly. I was particularly close to Younis Mahmoud, the captain.
For the new show, I dug out some of the black and white close-ups I had taken of Younis and superimposed a map of America on different parts of his face for a group of photographs that makes one artwork when viewed together. I am still in touch with Younis and some of the other players, mostly on the phone, and many ideas formed through our discussions in the last year have crystallized in the works for this show.
The sculptures, mostly wood and metal, are made of seemingly disparate, independent entities, but viewed together, reflect the macro reality of most of the Arab world. Camel Cliche II, for example has a large (about nine and a half feet) sinewy footballer’s body disjointed in the middle. Between the torso and the legs, I place a metal barrel and on top of that is a wooden camel. The work projects some of the problems that ail West Asia today—America’s greed for its oil, the marginalization of its talent and the stereotyped images the world has of that part of the world. Oil Massage, another sculpture, addresses similar issues.
The works in which I tackle something entirely new are War Hero , a painting, and Last Pass , a wood sculpture. In the last couple of months, especially after terror hit home in Mumbai, I have been preoccupied with the idea of transition of the dead to the other world—the phase beyond death which is nurtured by memory and supernatural beliefs. The painting in question is that of Ahmad Shah Masoud, the Afghan national hero who was instrumental in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. A staunch opponent of the Taliban, Masoud was murdered two days prior to the World Trade Center attacks. I am doing different kinds of portraits of Masoud.
Last Pass is more surreal, and haunting. The biggest work in the show, most of it is a wooden coffin balanced on an athletic body (a footballer’s body). The present is carrying the burden of the dead, and the future is nowhere in sight.
Riyas Komu is a Mumbai-based artist whose new works are going to be displayed at the show India: New Giants at Gemeente Museum, the Hague, Netherlands, from 28 March-21 June.
Source: http://www.livemint.com/2009/02/27205111/Soccer8217s-apprentice.html?h=B


A recent survey by Charity Commission in Britain has revealed that mosques across the country provide space for sport and leisure activies

THE MUSLIM Council of Britain recently welcomed the findings of an independent Charity Commission survey of mosques in Britain. The survey shows that mosques contribute to their local communities through a wide range of services and activities in addition to providing space for worship, from sport and leisure activities to healthy living programmes and assistance for senior citizens.
The survey charts how an overwhelming majority (94 per cent) deliver educational programme for children and young people and three in five (61per cent) carry out women's groups/activities. It is also a welcome information that increasingly more and more mosques have young people (52 per cent) and women (15 per cent) represented in their management responsibility. Far from being a source of separation, mosques are integral to community cohesion and development.
Dr Manazir Ahsan, the Chair of the Muslim Council of Britain's Mosques Committee said, “I fully concur with Dame Suzi Leather the chair of the Charity Commission that 'this new survey reveals the important contribution that Mosques are making to communities across England and Wales'.
We agree with the primary conclusion of the report, that mosques should not only be a place of solace and worship, but should also benefit local communities, irrespective of faith. We are in no doubt that some mosques - with very little resources - require the necessary help and assistance to serve its users and the local community. To that end, we endorse the Charity Commission call to mosques to engage with the Commission and benefit from its services in order to have proper policies in place.”
Despite the good work emanating from the majority of our mosques, and regardless of authentic, and citable evidence such as those presented by the Charity Commission, I am in no doubt that bigots and doom mongers will nevertheless continue to peddle Islamophobic hysteria, insisting that mosques are incapable of promoting community cohesion. We must prove these naysayers wrong by opening up and welcoming all people to our mosques.”


UK mosque survey highlights community role

Charity Commission publishes first detailed mosque survey The Charity Commission has published the first detailed survey of mosques in England and Wales, which shows that mosques contribute to their local communities through a wide range of services and activities in addition to providing space for worship, from sport and leisure activities to healthy living programmes and assistance for senior citizens. The independent regulator of charities in England and Wales commissioned the new survey as one part of its wider work with faith-based charities. Around 1 in 5 of the 190,000 charities on the Register of Charities either advance religion, which is a charitable purpose, or have a faith-based motivation. Many mosques are already registered charities. The independent survey was prepared by BMG Research and commissioned by the regulator's Faith and Social Cohesion Unit (FSCU) to provide key information on mosques which has not been gathered before. The report provides a better understanding of the range of organisations that exist, and shows that mosques which have engaged with the Charity Commission are more likely to have proper policies in place. 34% (255) of mosques contacted responded to the telephone survey. The findings show that most mosques are well-established, with 83% of those surveyed being set up for over ten years. The average number of attendees at Friday prayer meetings is over 400, rising to over 600 for Eid, and on average, the mosques surveyed reported that their estimated annual income is £233,452. Other key findings of the survey of 255 mosques across England and Wales Þ The mosques that responded offer a wide range of services and activities for the local community Respondents to the survey said: § Almost all (94%) deliver educational programmes for children and young people; § Eight out of ten (82%) carry out fundraising for the relief of poverty and hardship; § Three in five (61%) carry out women's groups / activities; § Almost half (47%) deliver sports and leisure activities; § Almost one third (31%) deliver health / healthy living activities; and § Nearly one in three (31%) deliver activities for senior citizens. The Charity Commission is a source of advice for mosques Respondents to the survey said: § Organisations that have had contact with the Charity Commission are more likely to have Child Protection policies, CRB checks and building insurance in place; § Close to half (49%) report that they would go to Charity Commission staff for advice and support; § Around two thirds (67%) report having had contact with the Charity Commission; and § Amongst those who have had contact with the Charity Commission, the rating of this contact is generally positive, with very few reporting any aspect of it as poor. The survey also shows that on average, mosques have 11 people on their trustee board or equivalent. In terms of the number of people in the mosques who are trustees, management committee members or equivalent, young people are well-represented, with over 52% of mosques having people aged between 18-30 with management responsibility and 15% of mosques having women with management responsibility. Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission, said: "This new research reveals the important contribution that mosques are making to communities across England and Wales. I'm really interested to see the wide range of services that mosques provide, from healthy living activities to legal advice services and from fundraising for those in financial hardship to sport and leisure. The Charity Commission has an essential part to play in supporting all faith-based charities so that they can maximise the contribution they make to society. I would remind those mosques that are not already registered of both the requirement for them to do so, as with any charity, but also of the benefits of being registered, including reputational benefits, receiving tax breaks, and free specialist advice and guidance from the Commission." Seyyed Ferjani,Current Chair of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB)* said: "We welcome this research commissioned by the Charity Commission, which is a really useful starting point on which we can build. I hope it will also be a useful resource for Muslim communities throughout England and Wales. The helpful advice and information provided by the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit is clearly of benefit to those mosques which responded to the survey. " Ghulam Rasool, Head of the Charity Commission's Faith and Social Cohesion Unit (FSCU), said: "It's great to find that in general, mosques that have had engagement with the Commission rate this contact as positive. This research provides a useful insight into Muslim communities, and whilst we believe it is the widest survey of its kind carried out to date, it has also identified a number of areas for further research and exploration. I would encourage any mosques with questions about charity registration and governance to visit our website for advice and guidance." Over the first year of its work, FSCU has hosted events and consultations as well as embarked on an extensive outreach programme, and by collaborating with 30 organisations has run nearly 100 events and nearly 300 face-to-face visits to mosques since May 2008. For more information on the FSCU or to access the Unit's most recent newsletter, go to: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/faithsc.asp. The full report is available online at: www.charitycommission.gov.uk. Notes 1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 3000 218. 2. The Charity Commission engaged BMG Research to carry out the survey of mosques in England and Wales. In total, 716 mosques were contacted by telephone and interviews were completed with 247 of these organisations. A further 8 organisations completed the survey by post. Research took place during October and November 2008, after a two-week pilot period. The questions for the survey were prepared in collaboration with the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit's external project board, which includes representatives of Muslim organisations. 3. The Faith and Social Cohesion Unit is a dedicated team within the Charity Commission. The Unit is: · working to improve the Commission's and society's understanding of faith-based charities; · engaging with faith communities to identify and support organisations that could be but are not currently registered with the Commission; · assisting faith-based charities to improve their standards of governance and accountability and thereby increase their effectiveness; and · working collaboratively to achieve and promote well run and effectively regulated faith-based charities. The Unit's initial focus is on mosques and other Muslim charities. A Project Board including representatives of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB) has been established to direct and evaluate the Unit's work and to provide specialist advice. The Unit's work is partially funded by a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government. 4. The Mosques and Imams Advisory Board (MINAB) has been founded by Al-Khoei Foundation, the British Muslim Forum (BMF), the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). *The role of chair of MINAB rotates between members. Seyyed Ferjani is the Chair until March 15th.


Muslim Women Are Taking Part In Aqua-Aerobic And Swimming Events!

All these year's Muslim females have faced the problem of finding an appropriate swimwear which adheres to the Koran, which requires a woman to cover everything except her face, hands and feet.
The swimwears available in the market were either not targeted for the Muslim women as they led to show of skin or were unpractical for swimming. To aptly describe how uncomfortable the swimwear designed for Muslimahs was I shall quote Aheda Zanetti who wrote to the National Geographic News stating "As an active Muslim girl, I found it difficult to participate in most sports, because of all the excess clothes we were wearing. And the veil very unpractical when playing sports".
For a market that was not targeted by big market share holders like Nike scattering small companies took the initiative of designing something fruitful for Muslimahs. People like Zanetti, Oliver Momeni and Hasema saw a great potential and design need in the market of swimwear for Muslimahs. Zanetti, is the owner of Ahiida, an Australian company that designs women's sportswear. Oliver Momeni started his venture of Bodykini in 2007, based in Spain and Hasema a Turkish company started designing a line of swimwear for men, women and kids. Among all these products the most admired and reviewed is "Bodykini".
Surely, Oliver had the support and opinions of his Iranian family members and an experience of over 20 years in the family textile business. Before designing the final product "Bodykini", Oliver conducted a lot of market research and held talks with many Muslim women. In the course of his time, he learned the important attributes targeted while designing the swimsuit. He designed Bodykini which is a complete blend of a swimsuit that looks great, designed for modest comfort, adheres to Islam's tradition and most importantly lets women swim without any fear.

It does so by removing all the excess fabric that the previous swimwear provided like the veil, pants and skirts. Oliver incorporated every thing into 2 main piece of clothing: a shirt with a hijood that serves as a close-fitting headpiece, which firmly lays on the head without slipping and a pant. The fabric used is a high quality water-repellent fabric that is not only highly Chlorine resistant but also provides protection from ultraviolet rays. The advantage of using a Polyester material is that it has low water absorbency, dries fast and ensures complete stretch in all directions leading to comfortable swimming or aqua-sport.
The Bodykini comes in two colors to choose from and two unique features. The first feature is the two elastic bands that are attached at the inside of the pants that get buttoned to the inside of the suit, which prevent the suit from floating in case the swimmer performs a feet first dive. The second feature is the small pocket with a zipper in the pants; ideal for keeping small items like keys or money.
So now, with products like Bodykini both the problems namely: meeting the Islamic traditional requirements and availability of a comfortable swimming garment for women, are solved. Bodykini is available online at bodykini.com. Along with this Bodykini has been launched in the Middle East and is available in Dubai at Al Boom Marine retail stores or at the Dubai Ladies Club.
Now, Islamic women can remain more active and enjoy the aqua sports with the power of Bodykini. The Bodykini modest swimwear is becoming popular among not just the Muslim population but also among all those women who love to cover their bodies and prevent the tans while enjoying the relaxing water.
Having said all this, Oliver Momeni is not just being thanked by all Muslim women for introducing such a wonderful product in the market but the big players are looking forward to promote products like Bodykini which is showing a very good grip on the swimwear market. Taylor, of Azizah Magazine, says that
"In another 15 years there's going to be a sizable Muslim consumer market and lots of demand". I think we're where the Hispanic market was 20 years ago, and today the Hispanic market is a big consumer market." Further more, Arun Jain, a marketing professor at the University of Buffalo in New York State, agrees and states that given the growth potential of the Muslim community in the United States, major sportswear manufacturers could be missing out on an opportunity to break into an emerging market. Moreover, more than just the Muslim women the modern world women comprising of Christian, Jews and others don't feel the need to show off their bodies and strive to be modest.
Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sarah_Al


Softball returns completed questionnaire to IOC

Lausanne, Switzerland; February 16th 2009:

The International Softball Federation (ISF) has reached another significant milestone in its campaign for reinstatement to the Olympic Summer Games with delivery today of the International Olympic Committee's 2016 Programme Review Questionnaire. An intense two month international project has been undertaken to collate the ISF's responses to 80 detailed questions, which will highlight the growing popularity of this youthful and dynamic sport. The ISF was able to provide positive responses to all questions across areas such as the rising popularity of softball, the sport's growing development, the strength of the organization, and its great traditions across the world. The ISF BackSoftball team has been working with many of its 127 national softball federations to gather this crucial information, utilizing its experts, technical advisors, & athletes, and its responses will play a vital role in convincing the IOC that softball merits its place once again on the Olympic Games programme. The Programme Review Questionnaire was sent out late last week and arrived in Lausanne today in compliance with the IOC deadline. The Olympic Programme Commission will meet on May 4-5 and the ISF will present to the IOC Executive Board in June. The questionnaire has given the BackSoftball team the opportunity to highlight the huge growth in popularity of the sport worldwide, with initiatives targeting women and youth, who are taking up softball in huge numbers. Simple to learn and inexpensive to play, softball is one of the few team sports to be promoted and supported by women in the Muslim world.
Softball is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, prompting the ISF to open an office in Lausanne recently and organize the Easton Foundation Youth Softball World Cup in Prague in August this year, featuring twelve nations from four continents. ISF President Don Porter said, We have sought the advice and collaboration of softball experts and athletes from around the world, who have all emphasized to us how popular our great sport has become across the globe. We are confident that our responses to the IOC questionnaire will position our sport favorably as we move into the final run of the bid process. These are crucial times for softball and we are convinced that we adhere closely to the values which reflect the Olympic movement.BackSoftball Athlete Ambassador and Olympian Saskia Kosterink of the Netherlands said, This has been a team effort with a number of my fellow Ambassadors and I working with the ISF to provide the athletes, point of view on the tremendous values softball promotes. The fact that the BackSoftball team has been so keen to get our input underlines how much they value the athletes, and that means a great deal.Fellow BackSoftball Athlete Ambassador and 2008 Olympic participant Rubilena Rojas (Venezuela) added, I have been overwhelmed by how much support the BackSoftball campaign has attracted in Venezuela. Everywhere I go, people talk to me about my role supporting the bid and I believe our responses underline how much the sport is growing and helping underprivileged women and children to have new opportunities through the sport.Softball was first featured in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996 and last year’s competition in Beijing, which was won by Japan, was hugely successful with a total attendance close to 180,000 and a continuation of the sport's excellent record of no positive drug tests in major competitions. A final decision on which sports will be added to the current roster of 26 at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be made at the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen in October this year.


Netherlands: Burkini good for integration

The burkini contributes to the integration of Muslim women in sports. With this swimsuit which almost covers the arms, legs, head and body these women can also go to the pool.State secretary Jet Bussemaker (Sport) gave this answer on Friday to PVV parliament member Fleur Agema's question who sees this bathing suit style as Islamization of sports. She asked her question after a swimmer in a burkini caused a fuss in Almelo
Bussemaker doesn't think the burkini is unsafe or unhygienic, as Agema claims. The state secretary compared it with body covering bathing suits that divers and surfers wear or with wetsuits that are used in sunny countries to prevent burning during swimming.
Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)
See also: Almelo: A fuss about a burkini

Source: http://islamineurope.blogspot.com/2008/01/netherlands-burkini-good-for.html
Gym weigert moslima met hoofddoek
ROTTERDAM - Een Schiedamse moslima doet aangifte tegen een sportschool in Rotterdam, omdat ze er niet met een hoofddoek op mag trainen.
Ze vindt het hoofddoekverbod discriminerend. De Commissie Gelijke Behandeling (CGB) gaat het probleem aankaarten bij de staatssecretaris van VWS. Karima Bouhannouch (27) denkt sterk te staan. ,,Er zijn al diverse uitspraken gedaan door de CGB over dit onderwerp. Deze landelijk opererende sportschool heeft een algemeen beleid om geen enkel kledingstuk op je hoofd toe te staan. Dus ook de bandana (een grote 'zakdoek' om het hoofd, red.), die ik als alternatief wilde dragen, mocht niet.'' De CGB heeft haar een brief gestuurd waarin staat dat de betreffende sportschoolketen voor dezelfde klacht in Dordrecht en Den Bosch al op de vingers is getikt. Een andere sportschool zoeken of het haar dan maar los dragen vindt Karima geen optie. ,,Ik wil een hoofddoek dragen vanwege mijn geloof.'' Het bewuste fitnesscentrum was gisteren niet bereikbaar voor commentaar.

Netherlands: Proposed ban on burkas in schools

The Dutch Education Minister recently announced he will push through a law against burkas - and any other clothing covering the face - in school (EN). This will prevent teachers, students, parents and delivery guys from wearing burkas around school premises.The news made the rounds, but I wasn't sure whether to even bother posting it. Here's a look at the burka debate in the Netherlands over the past few years:* Dec 2005: Parliament voted to ban the burka in all public places * Nov 2006: Committee advises cabinet that it might not be possible by law. The Intergration Minister at the time still thinks it would be possible to ban burkas in schools and public transport.* Jan 2008: Cabinet decides to ban the burka in schools and in the public service sector.* Apr 2008: Government wants to ban burkas in schools, public transport and the public service sector.* Sep 2008: Education Minister announces he will prepare a law to ban burkas in schools.Besides the fact that this topic has been discussed for so long, making world headlines every single time without any actual steps being taken - banning burkas in schools is apparently a moot point. Dutch newspaper Parool reports (NL) that students in Amsterdam-West, a neighborhood with a large immigrant population, don't wear burkas, and if the mothers do - they don't come to school to pick up their children. At the most, as one Rotterdam school prinicpal put it (NL) - he's never seen a student with a burka and doesn't expect that this would change in the next ten, twenty years. However, such a law could serve as precautionary measure and should he ever need to do something about a burka, he won't even need to discuss it.

Sport helps young Gazans escape reality - 06 Feb 09

Source: AlJazeeraEnglish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHtxBLTXlT0

North Kensington's women and girls are being urged to bridge the 'gender gap' and participate in sport with the help of the Westway Development Trust.
The Westway, which is a non-profit trust, is hosting a festival next month (March 14) to celebrate the strides it has made to help local women of all ages and backgrounds to get fit, active and healthy.
It has hundreds of women and girls on its books taking part in a variety of cheap programmes, from fitness lessons held in the borough's schools and 'Salsacise' classes, to tea and walking clubs for older people.
"We want to help women and girls overcome the barriers that exist to taking part in sport," says Laura Pugh, of the community sports team, based at the Westway Sports Centre in Crowthorne Road.
"There's the question of childcare, cost and families often supporting their sons to play sport, but not the daughters. But the interest is out there in Kensington and Chelsea and we've grown from nothing to have 500 women and girls on
our database. I think they just need to have the confidence that there are facilities for them and a broad range of interesting sports and activities to participate in."
Women and girls in London are much less likely to take part in sport than men for a variety of social, cultural, family and personal reasons. A quarter of women are never encouraged to take part in sport and drop-out rates among those who enjoy sport at school are high after they reach 16.
It is a disparity the Government is keen to address. The 2012 London Olympics is widely seen as an opportunity to boost the fitness of all Londoners and it is hoped resources will filter down to grassroots sports organisation, such as The Westway.
Gemma Parker, one of the Westway's community sports coaches who takes classes in over 20 of the borough's schools, says a lack of parental support is one of the reasons talented young girls drop out.
"I know some very talented girls who have been told by their parents they shouldn't play sport.
"They don't have the support and can be easily distracted by the hundreds of other things going on in a young girls' life.
"I come from an active family and when we were young we'd always be out walking, climbing trees, playing sport.
"For many girls that doesn't happen, it's seen as something they don't do. We want to change that."
To appeal to all ages and abilities The Westway holds lifestyle programmes and taster sessions covering everything from hair and beauty, healthy eating, fitness, climbing, tennis, badminton and pilates.
It is also building programmes targeted at specific local groups.
Women from black and ethnic minority communities have particularly low rates.
Just 12 per cent of Asian women and 14 per cent of Caribbean women take part in a physical activity for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, with an impact on their health and the habits of their children.
The Westway community sports team work closely with dozens of local groups from the Muslim Cultural heritage Centre, in Acklam Road, to the Moroccan women's group in Golborne Road, to involve all North Kensington communities in their programmes.
"Many Muslim ladies have specific needs such as privacy from men, different sports clothing or equipment. We're trying to start swimming classes for Muslim women as a way to get them involved," added Laura.
Gemma and Laura are looking for local organisations to help out with the March 14 event and spread the sporting word to the hundreds of people expected to join the festivities.
The team also want to hear from potential sponsors and businesses who can provide prizes on the day.


Iran: Men vs. women soccer game draws punishment

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The first mixed soccer game — females vs. males — since the 1979 Islamic revolution led to swift punishment Monday, as an Iranian soccer club said it had suspended three officials involved and handed out fines of up to $5,000.
Iran's strict Islamic rules ban any physical contact between unrelated men and women, and Iranian women are even banned from attending soccer games when male teams play.
The officials — a coach and two managers — first denied the game took place, but video clips on cell phones of the game were used as evidence against them, the Vatan-e-Emrooz daily newspaper reported.
Esteghlal, one of Iran's top two soccer clubs, said its disciplinary committee suspended two officials for a year while a third was suspended for six months. A fourth official was fined, a report posted on the club's Web site said.
The Jan. 20 game between the club's female team and its youth male team in Tehran was the first time in the 30 years of Iran's Islamic establishment that males and females played soccer together, observers said.
The youth team beat the women 7-0 in a game Vatan-e-Emrooz described as 'historic.'
Video clips on cell phones were used as evidence against the suspended officials, who initially denied the game was held, the paper said. The report said the game was held at Marqoobkar stadium in south Tehran.
Mixed games for soccer, called football in Iran, were virtually unheard of even before the Islamic revolution.
Kamran Khatibi, a soccer writer at Kayhan sports daily, said he doesn't remember a "football game ever having been played between women and men in Iran — not even during Shah Reza Pahlavi's era."
Women can be just as passionate fans about soccer. One well-reviewed Iranian film, "Offside," follows the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend a soccer game at a stadium in Tehran.
In 2006, the same year the film was released, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surprised his conservative backers by deciding that women could attend soccer games, saying their presence would "improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere."
But Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, disagreed. He has final say on all matters in Iran, so his stance held — no women in the stands, not even in the segregated section when men play.
And only women can attend games when women's teams play. However, foreign women are occasionally allowed at men's matches, purportedly because they don't understand the language and the cursing.
According to the Esteghlal soccer club, Mohammad Khorramgah, the club's technical manager, was suspended for a year and fined 50 million rials ($5,000) for the Jan. 20 game.
The only woman among the suspended — Saeedeh Pournader, head coach of the female team — also got a year's suspension. Mostafa Ardestani, head coach of the youth team, got a six-month suspension and a 20 million rial ($2,000) fine.
A prominent Iranian soccer player and manager of the club's soccer academy, Ali Reza Mansourian, got a written rebuke and a fine of 50 million rials, the club said.

EU urged to support women's role in sport

Europe should reject cultural separatism in sport and support equal access for all, argues the League for Women's Rights amid calls for more funding to support female sports participation.
Stakeholders meeting at a round-table on 26 January debated the role of women in sport and the direction that future EU sport policy should take on the issue.
The event, organised by Sport et Citoyenneté, a European think-tank for sports policy, addressed issues such as women's access to both sport itself and to decision-making positions in sports governing bodies. It also discussed equal pay and health benefits.
Amanda Bennett of the UK Women and Sport Council argued that the political instruments to address the gender gap in sport already exist (see background) and it is time to act. "We need commitment and resources, not just encouragement," she said, calling on the European Commission to assume leadership and provide resources.
Pedro Velázquez Hernández of the European Commission's Sports Unit said calls for proposals on sport are underway and should be published in 2009, in view of the EU's future competences following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
A number of speakers showcased government and grass-root level initiatives, ranging from the promotion of women's access to sport in poorer urban areas, the creation of "safe spaces" for women to play sports or initiatives to enable Muslim women to be physically active.
But these initiatives were called into question by the president of the Ligue du Droit International des Femmes , Annie Sugier.
Recognising the social value of such initiatives, Sugier underlined that social policy and sports policy should not be mixed. "If we establish sports clubs for women only, or decide to reserve swimming pool visiting hours for women only, then we reinforce the cultural separatism which in the first place is the reason for women not doing sports," she argued.
Trying to get women to be physically active through social policy will not increase the number of women participating sport, nor pave the way for future champions, she explained, adding that the only way to increase the number of young people participating in sports was through a true sports policy implemented in schools in cooperation with sports clubs.
MEP Pál Schmitt (EPP-ED, Hungary) echoed her comments, saying policies should focus on increasing participation. Indeed, 70% of youth in general - both boys and girls - do not play any sports at all, he said.
Emir Kir, a minister in the government of the Brussels Capital Region, agreed that participation in sports and sports club membership should be valued in schools.
Speaking to EurActiv after the event, Annie Sugier underlined that sport has universal rules that are based on the needs of different sports "so that we can run and swim the best we can". In most sports, Islamic robes and headscarves make it impossible for an athlete to perform at her best, in particular at the Olympic Games, she said.
While Olympic rules forbid all expressions of religion and politics during the Games, 14 delegations in last year's Olympics included veiled women. "This is in total contradiction with the Olympic Charter," Sugier lamented, deploring the International Olympic Committee's lack of courage to stand behind its own values of universalism and equality.
Sugier added: "We should in no way encourage segregation, as the more we accept this kind of behaviour, the more it will happen, and the more we endanger women who dare to do sports without the headscarf."

An Interesting Article, from a Forum on Islam: "Sports Practiced by Early Muslims"

Features of sports in Islam are many. In fact, many Islamic obligations include physical activities in addition to spiritual activities and ways of straightening behavior. Prayer, for example, is a spiritual purification as well as motions for the body. Hajj also involves physical effort in its various rituals. So do visiting fellow Muslims and the sick, and walking to mosques. All kinds of social activities in Islam can be considered to be a physical exercise of the body and a way to strengthen it, as long as these activities are done moderately.Among the sports that early Muslims played are the following:1. Running. It was a form of training for traveling, jihad, seeking provision, etc. Running is also implicitly included in the command to hasten to do good, which is both a spiritual and physical hastening. It was reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) raced `A'ishah and she outran him. Then they had another race where he outran her, whereupon he said, "This time makes up for the other." Some versions of the same hadith mention that his outrunning in the second time was due to the fact that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) had gained weight. Also, one of the famous Arabs known for running was Hudhayfah ibn Badr, who once attacked An-Nu`man ibn Al-Mundhir ibn Ma' As-Sama', and crossed in one night what people could cross in eight nights. 2. Horsemanship and horse racing. Arabs are famous for horsemanship. Once children reached 8 years, they used to learn how to ride horses. Allah Almighty referred to horse riding in the time of war in the Qur'an: [By the (steeds) that run, with panting (breath); Striking sparks of fire (by their hooves); And scouring to the raid at dawn; And raise the dust in clouds the while; Penetrating forthwith as one into the midst (of the foe)] (Al-`Adiyat 100: 1-5). Horses are also important in days of peace. Allah Almighty says [And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment] (An-Nahl 16: 8). Allah Almighty also recommended the Prophet to care for horses in this Qur'anic verse: [And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war] (Al-Anfal 8: 60). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was also reported to have held races for horses that had been especially prepared for the purpose, from Al-Hafya' to Thaniyyat Al-Wada` (about 6 or 7 miles from Madinah), and for those that had not been trained, from Thaniyyat Al-Wada` to the mosque of Banu Zurayq (about 1 mile). In Sahih Muslim it is reported that Allah's Messenger said, "Ride horses, for they are the legacy of your father Isma`il (Ishmael)." Also, in Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet himself is reported to have participated in a race while riding on his unbeatable she-camel, Al-`Adba'. Once a Bedouin rode a young camel that beat Al-`Adba' in a race. The defeat was hard for the Muslims, so the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "It is Allah's law that He brings down whatever rises high in this world." 原帖地址: The Muslim Zone Islamic Forum - Guiding Humanity To The Truth http://www.themuslimzone.com/general-sports-fitness/1792-sports-practiced-early-muslims.htmlAl-Jahiz also reported in his book Al-Bayan wa At-Tabyeen that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab wrote to his governors saying, "Teach your children swimming and horsemanship." In another narration, `Umar was reported to have added " Tell them to jump on the horses' backs, and narrate the stories of famous proverbs and good poetry to them."3. Archery. A number of hadiths show that this sport was popular among early Muslims: `Uqbah ibn `Amir said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saying while he was on the pulpit, 'In the verse, [And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war], the word power means archery; the word force means archery.'"Salamah ibn Al-Akwa` narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed by some people of the tribe of Banu Aslam who were practicing archery. The Prophet said, "O children of Ishmael! Practice archery as your father Ishmael was a great archer. Keep on shooting arrows and I am with (the team of) Banu so-and-so." So one of the parties ceased shooting, whereupon the Prophet said, "Why do you not shoot?" They replied, "How should we shoot while you are with them (i.e., on their side)?" On that the Prophet said, "Shoot and I am with all of you" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).`Uqbah also said, "I heard Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, 'Allah will cause three persons to enter Paradise for one arrow: the maker when he has a good intention in making it, the one who shoots it, and the one who hands it. So shoot and ride, but your shooting is dearer to me than your riding. If anyone abandons archery after becoming an adept because of his distaste for it, it is a blessing he has abandoned; (or he said: for which he has been ungrateful)'" (Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i, and Al-Hakim).4. Fencing. Arabs knew a sport by the name niqaf, which is in fact the origin of fencing as known today. One of its forms was a special dance that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) witnessed being done by Abyssinians inside a mosque. This niqaf refers to some movements being performed with arrows. In a narration reported by Abu Salamah, those Abyssinians were playing with their spears.5. Wrestling. The Prophet wrestled with a number of men, one of whom was Rukanah ibn `Abd Yazid ibn Hashim ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, who lived in Makkah and was a skillful wrestler. People used to come to him from distant territories and challenge him in wrestling. Ibn Ishaq narrated the story of Rukanah: Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) met him in one of the mountain paths of Makkah, whereupon he said to him, "O Rukanah! Will not you fear Allah and accept what I am calling you to?" Rukanah replied, "O Muhammad! Do you have a witness to verify your truthfulness?" So the Prophet said, "If I beat you in wrestling, will you believe in Allah and His Messenger?" The man replied, "Yes." The Prophet wrestled him and defeated him. Rukanah was astonished with that, and he asked the Prophet to acquit him of their agreement, which is belief, and to have a rematch. So they had a second and a third rematch where the Prophet also defeated him. Rukanah was astonished and said, "This is very strange indeed!" Then he immediately embraced Islam. Other narrations state that he embraced Islam after the conquest (fath)of Makkah" (Al-Hakim, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi).The Prophet also wrestled with Abu Al-Aswad Al-Jumahi, who was so strong that he would stand on a cow hide, and ten men would pull the hide to take it from under his feet, but in the end, the hide would be torn and he had not moved an inch.原帖地址: The Muslim Zone Islamic Forum - Guiding Humanity To The Truth http://www.themuslimzone.com/showthread.php?t=17926. Weight lifting. It was known to Arabs as rab`, which men used to practice by lifting a stone with their hands to show how strong they were. It is also reported that the first person to invent this game was Jabir ibn `Abdullah Al-Ansari, who was known for his physical strength. Among those who were famous for being strong was `Ali ibn Abi Talib, who, in the Battle of Khaybar, lost his shield so he used a door of the fort as a shield. Amazingly, that door was too heavy to be carried by seven persons (see Ar-Rawd Al-Anif, vol. 2, p. 239).7. High jumping. It was known to Arabs as al-qafizi. In this sport, the players used to place a piece of wood to jump on, and the game had special rules (see `Uyun Al-Akhbar, by Ibn Qutaybah, vol. 1, p. 133).8. Stone tossing. Its rules are mentioned in Arabic literary books. Al-Harithah ibn Nafi` reported, "I used to play with Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (the Prophet's grandsons) with madahi (round stones). The game used to go as follows: A hole is dug; the competitors throw their stones aiming to drop them in the hole, and the winner is the one whose stone falls in the hole. Sa`id ibn Al-Musayyab was asked about this game, and he deemed it permissible."9- Swimming. `Ata' ibn Abi Rabah narrated that he saw Jabir ibn `Abdullah and Jabir ibn `Umayr Al-Ansari while they were practicing shooting, but one of them felt bored, so the other said to him, "Do you feel bored? I heard Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, "All things in which there is no remembrance of Allah are frivolity and idle play except for four things, and he mentioned teaching another to swim" (At-Tabarani). Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "Once, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab say to me, 'Let's compete in water and see who can hold his breath under water longer than the other.'"It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had swum while he was a child when his mother visited his maternal uncles in Madinah. That is why when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) immigrated to Madinah, he looked at the place where his father had been buried and said, "Here is where my mother brought me."It is also reported that the Prophet could swim well in the well of Banu `Ady ibn Al-Najjar. Through this incident, As-Suyuti could prove that the Prophet knew how to swim. As-Suyuti also reported that Abu Al-Qasim Al-Baghawi narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and some of his Companions once swam in a stream. That day, the Prophet said, "Let everyone among us swim towards his friend." The Prophet himself swam towards Abu Bakr until he embraced him saying, "Here I am and my friend" (see Al-Zurqani's comment on Al-Mawahib Al-Ladunniyyah, vol. 1, p. 194).
Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr

Verhüllt ins Schwimmbad

Er ist eine Mischung aus Bikini und Burka - dem Ganzkörperschleier islamischer Frauen - und dementsprechend sieht ein Burkini auch aus: Das Kleidungsstück bedeckt den gesamten Körper seiner Trägerin, bis auf Hände, Füße und Gesicht. Nun darf die extra für Musliminnen entwickelte Bademode auch ganz offiziell in den Bädern getragen werden. Die Berliner Bäderbetriebe (BBB) haben die Genehmigung dafür erteilt - allerdings befristet bis zum Sommer und nur beim Frauenschwimmen im Stadtbad Neukölln und dem Bad am Spreewaldplatz in Kreuzberg. "Wir sind ein öffentliches Unternehmen und wollen das Baden allen anbieten", sagt Bädervorstand Klaus Lipinsky. In den Sommerbädern seien Muslimas häufig in voller Montur baden gegangen, er gehe davon aus, dass die Hallen von solchen Frauen eher gemieden wurden. Zeitgleich, so der Bädervorstand, habe eine Burkini-Händlerin beim Unternehmen darum gebeten, Burkinis zu erlauben. "Uns war vor allem wichtig, dass der Burkini beim Schwimmen nicht behindert." Das sei durch einen Test belegt worden.Innen- und Sportsenator Ehrhart Körting (SPD), der auch BBB-Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender ist, hat den Plänen im Dezember zugestimmt. Die Position des Senators sei allerdings "zwiespältig", erklärte gestern seine Sprecherin Nicola Rothermel. Der Senator sehe den Burkini als Beitrag zur Integration, wolle seine Zustimmung aber keinesfalls so verstanden wissen, dass nun alle Musliminnen einen tragen müssen. Aus diesem Grund habe der Senator auch den Probebetrieb befürwortet.Protest kommt von der CDU. "Wenn man so etwas zulässt, wird Druck auf andere Frauen ausgeübt, auch einen Burkini zu tragen", sagt der integrationspolitische Sprecher der CDU-Fraktion, Kurt Wansner. Früher hätten auch weniger Frauen auf der Straße ein Kopftuch getragen, "jetzt steigen die Zahlen wieder". Er ist überzeugt: "Burkinis zuzulassen ist integrationsfeindlich." Man könne darüber streiten, ob der Sinn von Integration darin bestehe, muslimischen Frauen das Schwimmen zu ermöglichen oder ob man ihnen die gleichen Rechte einräumen will wie deutschen Frauen. "Mit solchen Regelungen geben wir all das auf, worum Frauen jahrelang gekämpft haben, und das unter dem Deckmantel der Integration." Über das Thema müsse noch diskutiert werden, ist Wansner überzeugt.Was die Besucher der Schwimmhallen tragen, ist bislang durch die Hausordnung der Berliner Bäderbetriebe geregelt. "In den Schwimmbädern ist von allen Badegästen Badebekleidung zu tragen" heißt es dort. Und: "Bitte waschen Sie sich vor Benutzung unserer Einrichtungen und legen Sie dazu die Badebekleidung ab." Die Mitarbeiter seien darüber informiert worden, dass Burkinis nun auch als Badebekleidung gelten, so Lipinsky. "Wichtig ist uns, dass Sicherheit und Hygiene nicht beeinträchtigt werden." Doch genau darin dürfte ein Problem bestehen - wie man im Stadtbad Kreuzberg aus leidvoller Erfahrung weiß. Seit 2002 wird das Bad von Vereinen betrieben, ein Mal wöchentlich steht Schwimmen für muslimische Frauen an. "Wir erlauben auch den Burkini", sagt Rita Geisler, die die Besucherinnen betreut. Unter den 40 bis 50 Frauen, die wöchentlich kommen, seien auch zwei Burkini-Trägerinnen. "Allerdings behalten die sowohl BH als auch Slip darunter an", sagt Geisler. "Und sicher wechseln sie die Sachen vor dem Baden nicht." Das sei unhygienisch und stoße bei anderen Besucherinnen auf Widerstand.Für solche Fälle wollen die Bäderbetriebe vorsorgen: Bad-Mitarbeiterinnen sollen sich davon überzeugen, dass die Frauen tatsächlich nur einen Burkini tragen. Falls nicht, dürfen sie nicht baden.
Berliner Zeitung, 20.01.2009

Muslima verhüllt ins Hallenbad

BERLIN AP/taz Auf den ersten Blick wirkt er nicht wie ein Badeanzug: Mit langen Ärmeln und Beinen, Kapuze und Tunika verhüllt der so genannte Burkini die Schwimmerin komplett. Für manch gläubige Muslimin aber ist er das einzige Kleidungsstück, mit dem sie sorglos ins Wasser gehen kann. In Berliner Hallenbädern wird der Burkini - eine Wortschöpfung aus Burka und Bikini - jetzt erstmals probeweise zugelassen.
Ohne großes Aufsehen genehmigte Sportsenator Ehrhart Körting Ende des Jahres einen zunächst bis Sommer befristeten Versuch. Damit folgte der SPD-Politiker der Praxis in anderen westlichen Bundesländern. Der Vorstandsvorsitzende der Berliner Bäder-Betriebe, Klaus Lipinsky, sagte, es gebe keine vernünftigen Gründe, den Burkini nicht zuzulassen: "Wir sind eine multikulturelle Stadt, hier ist ein bisschen Toleranz gegenüber Andersgläubigen gefragt."
Körting sieht das kritischer. Zwar sei die Zulassung des Burkinis eine Integrationsmaßnahme. Gleichzeitig dürfe sie nicht dazu führen, dass Frauen dazu gezwungen würden, diese Ganzkörper-Badebekleidung statt eines normalen Badeanzugs zu tragen. Aus Lipinskys Sicht aber werden die Nachteile schon dann aufgewogen, wenn auch nur ein paar muslimische Mädchen infolgedessen schwimmen lernten. Bislang sei der Burkini kein Thema gewesen, heißt es bei den Bäderbetrieben weiter. Doch Musliminnen hätten versucht, mit Kleidung ins Wasser zu gehen. Das aber sei aus Gründen der Hygiene und der Sicherheit nicht erlaubt. Baumwollkleidung zum Beispiel sauge sich voll und werde schwer. Das könne gefährlich sein.
Erfunden wurde der Burkini von einer Tochter libanesischer Einwanderer in Australien, der es wenig Spaß machte, in ihrer Burka ins Wasser zu steigen, denn diese wurde vollgesogen schwer wie Blei. Inzwischen tragen den Burkini in Australien sogar Rettungsschwimmerinnen. Auch in der Türkei und Ägypten ist er schon lange auf dem Markt.
In Berlin setzte sich Nele Abdallah für die Zulassung in Schwimmbädern ein, die die vierteiligen Anzüge über ihre Firma Dressed To Swim vertreibt. Dort gibt es Modelle aus Polyester und Elasthan in verschiedenen Farben und Mustern ab rund 70 Euro. Andere Internetseiten bieten "Slim Fit"-, "Modest Fit"- und "Active Fit"- Schnitte an, je nachdem wie sehr sie die Silhouette des Körpers verschleiern.
In Berlin wird der Burkini nun probeweise zunächst in zwei Berliner Hallenbädern zugelassen und das nur während der Frauenschwimmzeiten. Stichprobenartig sollen die Bademeisterinnen kontrollieren, ob es sich tatsächlich um einen Badeanzug handelt und nicht um Straßenkleider oder gewöhnliche Sportbekleidung. Mit einem Blick festzustellen ist das oft nicht. Einige Marken-Burkinis haben zwar aufgenähte Typenschilder, andere kann man nur erkennen, indem man das Gewebe anfasst. Das weibliche Personal soll sich stichprobenartig auch davon überzeugen, dass die Schwimmerin keine Unterwäsche trägt. Hält sie sich nicht an die Vorschriften, kann sie des Bades verwiesen werden.
Verläuft der Pilotversuch erfolgreich, soll der Burkini in der Sommersaison auch in den Berliner Freibädern zugelassen werden. Lipinsky zeigte sich sicher, dass die neuartige Badebekleidung über kurz oder lang auch von den nichtmuslimischen Schwimmbad-Besuchern akzeptiert wird, auch wenn er am Anfang vielleicht Diskussionen auslöst. In den Niederlanden ist das nicht in allen Städten der Fall. In Zwolle wurde zwei Frauen in Burkini der Zugang zum Schwimmbad verwehrt. Die Begründung: Andere Besucher sähen die Ganz-Körper-Schwimmbekleidung nicht gerne.

Indian schoolgirls practice Chinese martial arts

A Muslim schoolgirl from St. Maaz high school practises Chinese wushu martial arts inside the school compound in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad July 8, 2008.
Wushu trainer Rahman Aqeel instructs students during Chinese wushu martial arts practice at St. Maaz high school, in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad July 8, 2008. Girls from ages 10 to 16 participate in weekly sessions during school term.

Muslim schoolgirls from St. Maaz high school practise Chinese wushu martial arts inside the school compound in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad July 8, 2008.