26 August 2007

Afghans angry at balls donated by the US

About 100 people have demonstrated in the Afghan city of Khost after US troops stationed in the area airdropped some footballs (soccer balls) aimed at children in the area. They were protesting the fact that some of the balls were decorated with, among other things, Saudi flags.

Since the Saudi flag contains the Muslim declaration of faith, "There is no god except God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God," the footballs would indirectly invite players to kick an object bearing the name of God.

A US military spokeswoman has expressed regret over the mistake (BBC).

This once again starkly highlights the need for understanding the US Armed Forces to understand Islam and Muslims. Any interpreter who took a look at one of those footballs would be able to flag them as inappropriate.

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