(The famous Red Devils’ logo – Image source: http://www.montrealgazette.com)
I am not a Muslim and do not wish to indulge with any guidelines that may be issued by the authorities for the Muslims in Malaysia but then again, certain guidelines given does put Malaysia and Malaysians as whole in a strange, strange situation in the eyes of the international community.
Manchester United football shirts have been banned in parts of Malaysia because the image of the famed red devil is forbidden in Islam.
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”.
I believe that at end of the day, it all depends on how strong is your belief. As my Muslim friend once said – it is between you and God and not on what others says as right or wrong.
I have friends who have done all kind of nonsense in their life and yet, at the end of the day, their belief in their religion is strong as ever. They are kind, unbiased, helpful, forward thinking and rationale.
And speaking on Manchester United (sorry, I am not a fan, he he), they have “been” in Malaysia for almost 20 years now and no one spoke of anything till now. So, what prompted the latest guidelines on the football shirts?
It does get strange, does it?