Lebanese national football team censured by regional sports authority
Football players suspended for two games
The Lebanese national football team has been reprimanded for failing to ensure players cover their awrah, despite two previous warnings that clothing standards must be maintained.
Within the Khilafa men are required to cover their body from between their knees and navels however public officials have noticed an increasing lax attitude towards mens dress standards. This is in direct contrast to the requirements and policing of women and their standards, which are routinely held to a higher level of accountability. Recently, the Khilafa had introduced changes to promote a societal shift in the way men and women dress to ensure men are fulfilling their religious obligations and to ensure equitable treatment of men and women. This includes ensuring men engaging in sports, social activities, swimming activities and work activies maintain appropriate coverage of their awrah.
Despite these changes, most football associations have turned a blind eye to the conduct of their players, particularly during celebrations when they often throw off their shirts in joy. In response, the regional sports authority has warned sports clubs of a new three strike policy, where by after three warnings football clubs will face games suspension and possible relegation. Osman Ayman, the leading goal scorer for Al Nijmeh, rejected these changes in an explosive interview on national TV earlier in the week. Complaining bitterly of the changes, Osman criticised the ruling saying:
This is an utter joke. Football has been in our history for nearly 100 years and not once has anyone told us what or how to wear our uniform. I don’t want anyone to think I’m mocking the rules around the awrah of men but let’s be serious here, the occasional shirtless celebration is not that big of a deal. If the regional sports authority has so much free time on their hands to chase us players over the length of our shorts then I suggest they turn their attention to the womens football federation. Why women are allowed to play football is beyond me and a disgrace to our people, hijab or not.
While these views are not necessarily shared by the wider team they are reflective of a silent majority across the region who believe that the awrah of a woman is more important than that of a man. This comes despite a 3 month campaign by the Ministry of Religious Affairs to educate the community about the equal importance of awrah for both sexes. Asma Khan, senior manager for the regional sports authority, finds these comments unhelpful as the State attempts to improve religious education and practices amongst the population.
The fact of the matter is that the awrah of a man and a woman is equally important. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has reiterated that position for months now and it’s no longer a point of confusion. If these football players are unwilling to adapt then there club will pay in response. The days of turning a blind eye to mens shortcomings are long gone now and individuals need to know their religion and be accountable for their actions. If the Womans Football Federation can manage to conduct themselves with zero incidents when it comes to clothing attire them I’m sure the men can too.
While many women and religious scholars support this latest move the wider male community has shown little enthusiasm to change. Now under greater public scrutiny however, men are starting to show a growing sense of self awareness in how they dress and present themselves in public.
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