Go Religious Freedoms Go!

Jews and Muslims must coexsist better.
Jews and Muslims must co-exsist better.

A football fan brings his girlfriend to a game. He is very excited to see if she too likes his only other love. It is extremely important to him that she likes the game. She sits for the game and as soon as it’s done, the anxious boyfriend quickly asks her about her thoughts of the game.

“It was awesome, the energy, the noise, the skin-tight uniforms but there was one thing I didn’t understand.”

“What is it, hunny?”

“Well they started by throwing a quarter and then the team that didn’t win the coin toss ran around yelling “Get the quarter back!” For players who make millions a year, I think they’ll be fine without 25 cents.”

This joke has nothing to do with what I want to say. I am not a football fan. I could not care less about the game. I am a social justice fan. I do care about the people of the world and the people of the Jewish nation.

Husain Abdullah was handed a 15 minute “unsportsmanlike” penalty after bowing in prayer as is traditional in Islamic tradition, after scoring a touchdown. I apologize to any NFL fanatics if I am getting the terminology wrong.

Abdullah is not the first one to showcase his religion in the public arena. Tim Tebow, a devout Christian, began bowing and praising Jesus, which became sensational. Tebow never received any sort of punishment.

The USA have come such a long way. They are long gone from slavery, they have made recovery strides since 9/11 when Islamaphobia was at an all-time high. This is supposed to be a tolerant age, so why the double standard? This punishment is a slap in the face to those who fight hard for religious rights and the freedom to express our religions peacefully.

If penalizing Abdullah was really just a mistake, where is the NFL’s apology?   Furthermore, as brothers in Monotheism and advocates of religious rights, why is there, not only little support for Husain Abdullah amongst Jews, but support for the penalty!?

Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, a man whom while I disagree with at times, I respect, shared his dismay of the Jews who thought the punishment was just, on his Facebook page. The post was followed by an onslaught of comments defending the penalty and bashing Islam.

They wrote about how Islam is a religion that solely wants to destroy Jews and that they are intolerant of other faiths. Many said it was offensive because of “ISIS’s beheadings”.

Reading this made it so hard to distinguish who was truly intolerant. Was it the Muslim faith or those who called the Muslim faith an intolerant one. Yes, I’ll condemn IS every single day. The pain and anguish that they are distributing daily to Christians and fellow Muslims are unspeakable crimes of humanity.

Husain Abdullah is a football player. He does not have a single connection with IS, All Queda or any terrorist group other than the NFL. His bow did not hurt anyone and by saying that he cannot express his religious creed is saying what IS and radical Muslims are saying in Iraq and Syria. Let’s not stoop to this level.

About the Author
Shai Reef is a Political Science student at York University.
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