Why basketball is Muslims’ favorite sport

For many Muslim Americans, college and professional basketball provides heroes they can take pride in, symbols of affirmation at a time when they face hostility from some Americans. And it serves as a way to develop fellowship with their fellow believers while reaching out to non-Muslims.

“Every Muslim community I go to, there’s this obsession for basketball. Almost every mosque you go to, there’s a basketball court outside,” said Musab Abdali of Houston.

At the moment, there are at least eight Muslim players in the NBA (four Turks, two African Americans, one Iranian, and one Tanzanian), and one of them — center Nazr Mohammed of the Oklahoma City Thunder — is currently in the middle of a tense series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

But the special relationship between Muslims and basketball goes beyond any particular player or team and embraces the sport itself. It is not unlike the one described in “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story,” a 2010 documentary film written by Ira Berkow, a Pulitzer-prize winning sportswriter.

 

Omar Abdelkader, a student at Northeastern University in Boston, is an observant Muslim but admits that, at least as a kid, he was occasionally seduced by the swish of a perfect jump-shot over the Islamic call to prayer.

“Sometimes we’d sneak out of prayers to play ball,” recalled Abdelkader, who grew-up attending the Worcester Islamic Center in central Massachusetts. Like a growing number of American mosques, the Worcester Islamic Center has a basketball court — and hence a built-in temptation for younger members.

Islamic text calls for election boycott

BRUSSELS – A French-language document is circulating in Brussels and on the internet calling on Muslims to boycott the elections on 10 June because they are “illegal,” Le Soir reports. The 12-page document is titled “Participer aux elections” (Taking part in the elections) and is being distributed among the Arab Muslim community in Brussels and online. The document states that only Allah has the authority to make absolute laws. “Every Muslim who takes part in the elections is unfaithful,” the text reads. The text is anonymous, but well written, Le Soir writes. The author makes reference to the Koran and various prophets and is based on a fatwa from Great Britain.