05 August 2009

Football fracas

A football anthem is proving controversial in Germany because of joking references to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The song, chanted during matches by the fans of FC Schalke 04, is called "Blue and White, How I Love You", referring to the club colours. The lyrics of the anthem include the lines "Muhammad was a prophet who understood nothing about football / But of all the lovely colours he chose blue and white".

The song was written in 1924, but has aroused controversy only recently, after reporting on it in the Turkish media. Aiman Mazyek, who heads the (German) Central Council of Muslims, has asked for "an explanation" of the "background" of the song. The club, meanwhile, is seeking expert advice on whether the song can be considered offensive to Muslims. The police of Gelsenkirchen, the city where Schalke 04 is based, is also following the matter in order to protect the rights of Muslims who may have been offended.

I personally think the best solution would be to replace the name of the Prophet with something more innocuous. It's all a bit of silly fun for the non-Muslim fans, but this sort of off-hand remark does sound pretty offensive to a Muslim ear.

[This post was written in Perrysburg.]

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