July 23, 2012 ·3 Comments
LONDON — Ramadan 2012 has brought a unique fasting dilemma for Muslim athletes during London Olympics. Despite competing in very tiring games, many Muslim Athletes have said they will fast and compete
When South African batsman Hashim Amla scored triple century (311 not out) at Oval, London, against England on July 21-22 he was not fasting. But, as a devout Muslim, he said he would observe fast after his return to his home in Durban.
Once when Pakistan batsman Yasir Hameed was, while batting, struck by a rising ball he could not take water or medicine because he was fasting.
In the same way, a couple of decades back a hockey team of Bhopal lost by a slender margin after putting a great show. Later it was prominently reported in the media that most of the players of Bhopal team were Muslims and were fasting.
Similar question of whether to fast or not during the Holy month of Ramazan came before many athletes and players taking part in the London Olympic, which is to start on July 27 and end on August 12, while Ramazan is to last till August 18.
For example, Somali-born Canadian Mohammed Ahmed, 21, a 10,000-metre runner, is not going to observe fast. The 10,000-metre final is on August 4.
But Algerian Khaled Belabbas will fast while competing in the steeplechase, because for him religion is a bigger part of his life than sport. “I will fast like I always have. It will not be a novelty for me,” he said. He will just feel more exhausted when he crosses the finish line, he said.
British rower Mohammed Sbihi will delay Ramazan observance but do his own special penance. Reports said that he consulted an Islamic cleric and will donate 60 meals to the poor in the country of his origin, Morocco, for every day of Ramazan he misses fasting.
Moroccan swimmer Sara El-Bekri has made up her mind not to fast during this year’s Ramazan. “Our physical ability is undoubtedly impaired,” the African champion at 50- and 100-metre breaststroke told news site France 24. “We are split between the desire to respect one of the five pillars of our religion and the need to arrive in London in the best possible physical condition to compete at the Olympics.”
Those who are not observing fast are making use of an exemption or deference that exists in the Quran.
According to Ramazan information on the Islamic Foundation of Toronto’s website the sick, the old, pregnant women and travellers are permitted to observe the sacrifices at a later date. As travellers, most athletes can delay Ramazan’s requirements.
But there are many who feel that the players and athletes do not fall under this category, though it is also true that they are far away from their homes.
When London Olympics Organizing Committee released the Games schedule six years ago, the UK-based Islamic Human Rights Commission lobbied to have dates shifted so that the July 27-Aug 12 Olympics would not overlap with Ramazan. This would put fasting Islamic athletes at a disadvantage, the Commission said.
But the International Olympic Committee turned down the request on the grounds that the Olympics is a secular sports event which has ties to no religion.
Reports suggest that the organizers have made efforts to accommodate the multicultural makeup of the Olympic family.
A multi-faith centre in the Olympic village will have a dedicated Muslim prayer facility for men and women. A full team of Muslim clerics will be available to athletes and officials. Faith rooms are also provided at the rowing and canoe sprint village and the sailing village along with chaplaincy service. Halal meat and meals will be available at all times for athletes in their dining facilities.
Though Olympic Games are taking place in England other sporting events have taken place in Muslim countries during Ramazan, yet seldom had any attempt been made to reschedule them. For example international cricket matches, Test as well as ODI, have been played in Pakistan during Ramazan but the latter made no effort to change the dates.
By NVONews.Com Sports Correspondent,
July 23, 2012Follow @somalilandpress
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