Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Soccer, religion and rituals: the Egyptians Pharaons win the Africa Cup of Nations

Obviously linked to political issues (see this previous post), soccer has always been associated with demonstration of national but also regional, ethnical and local identities.

Since the last decade, Arab soccer fields have also been a place for the affirmation of religious identity through the new habit among many (muslim) players of doing the sujûd (to prostrate oneself) whenever they score a goal.

According to muslim authorities, to do the sujûd whenever you want to thank God is perfectly OK. Others add that it may even be useful to show that soccer fields are places where God rewards those who He loves…

Sami Sabri, from the Egyptian national selection, explains that the sujûd also is a way for the muslim player to express his happiness according to the rites and values of the Arab and muslim societies, and without imitating the sometimes “grostesque gesticulations” of players coming from other cultures.

Nonetheless, there could be another explanation behind the endless demonstrations of piety showed by the Egyptian team during the competition : playing in Africa, and especially in Kumasi, capital of the Ashinti kings, they had to protect themselves against witchcrafts by the reading of Coranic verses!...

Follow that link to read the original and more detailed post in French.

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