The Washington Post has had it up to here with all us yahoos getting upset about those Muslim football teams named Intifada, Mujahedin, etc. In a phrase that must have sent the editorial board cackling with the joys of turnabout-is-fair-play, they call it “political correctness run amok.”
The problem, they explain was the names of some of the teams: “There was Intifada, the term Palestinians use to describe revolts against Israeli occupation. And Soldiers of Allah. And Mujaheddin, a term that means ‘holy warrior’ and has been used in reference to Islamic terrorist groups. Totally unacceptable, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Southern California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Cooper told the Associated Press that such words are ‘linked to real terrorists, real threats, real murders.’ And using them only glorifies terrorism.”
The Post continues: “With all due respect, Rabbi, that’s a real stretch. We’re talking about football teams, remember? A little perspective wouldn’t hurt. Judging from the comments of some of the players, most of whom are in their twenties, there doesn’t seem to have been any malicious intent. It might be different if all the suggested team names were as politically charged as the three at issue. That might have meant that the objective all along was to provoke non-Muslims. As it stands, it looks as though these young men never considered the possibility that the seemingly innocuous act of choosing names for football teams might prompt others to declare the equivalent of a rhetorical holy war on them. Some of the players have even quit the tournament because hate mail and talk-radio rants have them fearing for their safety. Notably, the critics include some older Muslim leaders who have asked the young men to change the names to something more sensitive.”
Here’s the rub: “As for glorifying terrorism, I suppose if that argument were true, it would follow that a pro football team named the Redskins was meant to honor the American Indian. Funny. Many American Indian groups don’t see it that way. For years, they have staged a national campaign to rid teams of such names.”
The problem is that, before political correctness really did run amok, it was clear that names like Redskins were indeed intended to honor the American Indian. Sports teams have NEVER taken names of things they meant to demean, or things they despised. Rather, all sports team names are intended to evoke strength and power by connection with a figure recognized as strong and powerful. This is an elementary point that used to be taken for granted: Eagles, Tigers, Bears — these names were not taken by people who hated animals, but by people who wanted to claim the same strength of those animals. Likewise I doubt you will find that any of these young men playing football despise or reject the Intifada or jihad.
“Same goes here. The critics should take a deep breath and cut the Muslim football players some slack. The young men just want to play football. What kind of subversives are these? Why, instead of agitating, they’re assimilating.”
Terrific. What would the Post say to a German football team named “Hitler Youth” or “SS”? Or to a Russian team named, say, the Mighty Stalinists? (Thanks to seafarious.)