Muslims in Sports

He did not receive the same messages from reading scripture that the white Christians did. “The Black Muslims themselves see Islam as the Black man’s logical progression from the way the white man taught to a faith that is his own.” Muhammad Ali valiantly promoted the Nation of Islam and is the second largest Muslim influence ever behind Malcolm X. Ali’s message came across so powerful because he was actually living the lifestyle like he was promoting. Ali will always be remembered for what he could do in the ring but there was so much more substance to him. He studied scripture with passion and was very well spoken. This contradicted the stereotypes of African-Americans and is the reason why Ali had so much influence.

Since the days of Muhammad Ali, countless African-American athletes have risen to the top of professional sports. With each passing year the increased media coverage places more and more scrutiny on the athletes. Along with the media attention comes more power and responsibility for the youth. This can be used for both good and evil. Many athletes have chosen the path of promoting their religion but others have fallen into a trap. That trap is behaving in a way that does not project a positive view on the African-American community. This can happen in countless ways but Tiger Woods is probably the best modern day example. The immense influence of modern day African-American athletes is not always positive but if you pay attention, underneath the negative buzz you will find highly spiritual people.

Muslim Jihadists And The Ku Klux Klan

A recent post on Facebook showed a picture of present-day Muslim extremist fighters in their black veiled Arab dress, and a picture of Ku Klux Klan members in their conical hats, robes and masks. It posed the question: as no-one thinks the Ku Klux Klan is representative of Christians, why do so many people think the jihadists are representative of Muslims? The juxtaposition of these two pseudo-fascist groups is interesting. While it may convey the message of the danger of associating many with the crimes of a few, it also raises questions about fundamental differences between the two groups.

There can be no doubt about the fundamentally religious nature of the jihadist movement in Islam. With a long and contiguous history from the writings of Sayyid Qutb in the 1950s, through Ayman al-Zawahiri’s al-Jihad and the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida and the Islamic State, there has been a constant call to restore Islam to the pristine condition of the time of the Prophet. The stated goal is to see the whole world administered as an Islamic state under Sharia Law.

By comparison, the aims and objectives of the Ku Klux Klan seem trivial and parochial. In their three manifestations since the late 1860s, they have focussed their anger first against black Americans freed from slavery, then in the 1920s against Jews and Catholics and more recently against the Civil Rights Movement. Their scope was American rather than global and their motivation was racist rather than religious. Nobody, not even themselves, ever thought of the KKK as representing the whole of Christianity, or promoting a new world order based on the parables of the New Testament.

While virtually all American Christian denominations have officially denounced the KKK, numerous radical imams preach support for jihad, and Moslem masses in many Middle Eastern countries fill the streets in celebration of what they see as the victories of al Qaida and ISIS. In short, while most Christians certainly oppose the KKK, the jihadists enjoy widespread support amongst Moslems. While the Ku Klux Klan proved capable of disturbing the peace in some states of the USA, the jihadists have succeeded in spreading their terror to most major countries, including Russia, China, India, the USA, France, the UK and Australia.

Although support for jihad has been described as widespread, it is still a minority aspiration and should rightly not be ascribed to all Moslems. To preserve this sense of balance, the comparison of the jihadists with the KKK may be useful. But outside of the USA the Ku Klux Klan is regarded as a purely American manifestation and ridiculed rather than feared, whereas the jihadist threat spreads serious concern in every land.