x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Bad timing at Olympics

Fast facts I found recently that the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be held during Ramadan.

While we're on the topic of sport, I found recently that the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be held during Ramadan. Muslim athletes will be forced to choose between running fast and fasting, pardon the pun. To me this is like holding the Winter Olympics during Christmas, simply culturally insensitive, especially since you could hold the games in any of four other months. It probably won't really affect the athletes; Islam allows an exception for people "travelling" during Ramadan, and the 2,500 or so Muslim athletes can always make up the time they missed later. The Olympics have conflicted with Ramadan five times (1908, 1920, 1924, 1948 and 1980), and Muslim athletes participated and even won some medals (Turkey won six golds in 1948, and Egypt two).

But it will affect the Muslim world's attitude to this global sport festival. The Islamic Human Rights Commission has voiced its displeasure at the scheduling, and moreover fewer Muslims will travel to London to participate as spectators, which means we won't be represented at the party.