Roshan Muhammed Salih says Muslims have no reason to support the England football team given the anti-Islam campaign it has been spearheading during the World Cup in Qatar.
I’ve always been in a minority of British Muslims when it comes to supporting the England football team – in that I desperately want them to lose every time they take the field.
This runs contrary to the majority of British Muslims, especially young people, who seem to cheer on the Three Lions (or the Three Kittens as I now call them following their capitulation on the LGBTQ issue when threatened with yellow cards) with stomach-churning gusto.
I must confess that some of the happiest moments of my life have usually been spent in the moments after the England football team has just been knocked out of an international competition…. preferably on penalties.
The feeling of pure joy is indescribable. To see the nation’s expectations raised so high after a lucky win against a mediocre team, and then to see those very same expectations brutally crushed after a devastating defeat is something I will never tire of. It’s bliss.
Yes I want England to lose, I want them to lose badly, the more goals conceded the better because that would be total humiliation. But a narrow defeat after a heroic performance is almost as good because that means England got so close and everyone got their hopes so high, only to see it all taken away.
I’m almost in tears of joy as I write this.
Yet I have received more complaints from Muslims about this “bad attitude” than for any other subject. Football has nothing to do with politics and religion, they argue. Why antagonise English people over a football match? Stop being so childish!
Yet I would now like to ask my detractors a simple question: given that the Football Association, England players and fans have deliberately conflated sport, religion and politics by spearheading a campaign to impose LGBTQ values on the Muslim nation of Qatar (as well as other types of fahisha), and have gone as far as to break Qatari/Islamic law while in a Muslim country, what’s your excuse for supporting them now?
Why I’m a traitor
Ok, so now that everyone knows that I’m a traitor, let me tell you why I feel this way.
Basically, I’m a not-so-atypical immigrant with a chip on my shoulder. I’ve lived in Britain most of my life but have been the victim of racism and Islamophobia much of it.
Like many immigrants I came to this country not out of choice but because my parents took an economic decision to emigrate from my home country (which the British screwed up through colonialism). And I’ve been stuck here ever since for many reasons out of my control.
So I associate the England football team with my oppressors – the British colonialists who raped and pillaged my home country making it unliveable and forcing my parents to emigrate to a cold, unwelcoming land just to make a living.
I associate the England football team with the politicians and the army who have invaded, occupied and destroyed the lands of my fellow Muslims, most of which I have visited and have grown to love.
I associate the England football team with the racists who called me “P*ki” throughout my youth.
And I associate the England football team with the Islamophobes in the political establishment and media who attack and demonise my community every day.
Let’s face it if England win the World Cup life here would be insufferable. The media would go into jingoistic overdrive; all the dormant feelings of English superiority that led to an empire would resurface; and the reality of the inevitable and slow decline of a once-great nation would be glossed over.
No, I prefer to see the English unhappy. I want to see them fail and to have the notion that they are failures rammed home. I want to see them suffer in a small way like they have made other people suffer in a much bigger way.
Am I a traitor for saying this? Am I hypocritically benefitting from the positive things I enjoy as a citizen of this country such as the freedom to say what I just said? Should I be deported and go live with the Taliban?
Well all I can say is that I am a good citizen. I pay my taxes, I am law-abiding, I am nice to my neighbours and I help old grannies cross the road. In fact, I contribute far more to this country than your average patriot who causes mayhem in a town centre on a Saturday night and scrounges off the social.
Moreover, although I don’t claim to speak for all immigrants or ethnic minorities my “bad attitude” is shared by many of them I’m sure. They too have a chip on their shoulder as big as mine and quite right too.
Anyone but England
For several months now the England football team, officials, pundits and media has been banging on about Qatar’s stance on LGBTQ, women’s rights, public affection laws, and alcohol bans.
They have hypocritically demonised this Muslim nation, and its Islamic laws and cultural attitudes, while conveniently turning a blind eye to the numerous human rights abuses at home (foreign wars, support for dictatorships, support for Israel, treatment of refugees, Islamophobia etc).
And the level of vitriol and vilification, which has exceeded anything directed at Russia before the 2018 World Cup or China before the 2008 Olympics, can only be explained by the rampant Islamophobia inherent in the West and symbolised by the English football team.
In the past I used to say that I fully realise that this is just a football game and that the England players (as individuals) may not be racist Islamophobes. But I would add that this is not about football or football players for me; this is about symbolism.
But now I believe it’s about more than symbolism. The behaviour of the English football team before and during this World Cup has been Islamophobic in every sense. So I say the following loud and clear:
The English invaded and occupied my country; they forced me to come over here for economic reasons; they made me feel like an inferior human being. So the very least I can bloody do is hope they get stuffed at footie.
Anyone but England.