Thursday, March 8, 2007

I've been hearing about this story in Montreal the last week or so, about the young soccer player who was asked to remove her head scarf in order to play in a tournament. She refused, the coach pulled the team, and apparently 5 other teams pulled out as well, in response. Today I read this follow-up story:

Egypt calling Canada Racist

This is starting to annoy me now. First, let me say that I think there have been some really courageous people in this situation. The girl--quite young to be standing up for her religious beliefs, I applaud. The ref, who made a very difficult call, I also see as brave to have taken on this religiously coloured sporting issue. The coach, who chose to pull his team, and inspired 5 other coaches to do the same, is to be applauded for supporting his girl like that. (oops, assuming the coach is a man....)

What I'm annoyed about is how it's being viewed on the world screen. Canada racist!?! Look here Egypt, I've lived in the States where racism can be felt like a hot, wet blanket. I'm not going to naively assume that we've gotten away from the moral depravity of racism, but this is NOT an issue that illustrates what racism does exist in Canada.

Look at the last line of the article---there's your issue right there. The MUSLIM ref was concerned for that girls' safety on the field and I have to say I quite agree. It's unfortunate that this girl has to make a choice between displaying her faith and playing soccer, but I have to say this is the price one pays for being true to your religion. Sometimes you have to give something up.

So then, last night at choir, we were rehearsing a piece from our repertoire called "Down by the Riverside". As a community choir, we don't generally sing 'religious' pieces, but as part of our mandate to expose children to different styles, we will often look to Black Spirituals for good quality, meaningful musical expression. Part of the song had one part singing the word Hallelujah.

Having grown up in the Salvation Army, I was never familiar with the practice of Lent. My first real exposure was when an older sister of a guy I dated in highschool gave up chocolate for Lent. I realized that the SA schedules 'Self Denial' roughly around the time of Lent, so I guess that was Mr. Booths equivilent. However, I never realized how far some denominations go....

This little girl approached me after practice and said that she couldn't sing that part because it had the word Hallelujah, and she was not allowed to say that until after Easter.


I was a) very impressed, b) newly educated and c) really proud of her. I told her to sing la-la-la until after Easter. Oh, the things I learn from my kids.....


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