FanDuel - WFBC

October 16, 2006

2012 Summer Olympics Coincide with Ramadan: As noted with protest, the 2012 summer games in London are scheduled to occur during Ramadan, a lunar month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Around 3,000 of the 11,000 athletes who will participate are Muslims.

posted by rcade to other at 11:38 AM - 35 comments

Ah, the apocalypse will be upon us long before this happens, so no worries.

posted by psmealey at 11:50 AM on October 16

An alternative that would allow Muslims to be able to eat would be to hold all the events after sundown. According to some of the comments the athletes can eat, they just have to make up the missed days and fast later.

posted by apoch at 11:56 AM on October 16

I'm ignoring the troll. Scheduling has long been the bane of any Olympic organizer's existence, more than pretty much anything else, and this is just one more headache. Ramadan crawls through the Gregorian calendar on a regular basis, and so this scheduling conflict is inevitable every few decades. I am willing to believe this will work itself out. All these rules are immovable, and yet one side will let something slide, someone else will overlook something, an exception will be made in just-this-one-case... This is the stuff of diplomacy.

posted by chicobangs at 12:00 PM on October 16

I am reminded of several Olympians over the years who refused to race on Sundays due to their Christian religious beliefs. I am certain that there are Orthodox Jews who has not been able to race on Saturdays for much the same reason. Not that I am not sympathetic - and, indeed, 3,000 competitors is a whole lot more than, say, 6 or 7 competitors - but the Olympics, as a secular event, shouldn't necessarily have to be scheduled around anyone's religious beliefs.

posted by Joey Michaels at 12:12 PM on October 16

A month-long holiday is a lot to deal with for non-Muslims, but I don't see how the Olympics can disregard the religious needs of 3,000 athletes and still lay claim to being a worldwide event. The event's six years off and ought to still be flexible in its scheduling.

posted by rcade at 12:58 PM on October 16

Remember "Chariots of Fire"? "Liddell was a committed Christian and he refused to race on Sunday, with the consequence that he was forced to withdraw from the Men's 100 metres, his best event. The schedule had been published several months earlier, and his decision was made well before the Games began." Of course, that was only one day out of the week, and Liddell was able to train for and win the 400m race on a subsequent day...

posted by Venicemenace at 01:00 PM on October 16

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: "They would not have organised this at Christmas I can't argue with that one.

posted by tselson at 01:27 PM on October 16

"Togay Bayalti, president of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, said: 'This will be difficult for Muslim athletes. 'They don't have to observe Ramadan if they are doing sport and travelling but they will have to decide whether it is important to them.'" So tell me again why this is an issue?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 01:31 PM on October 16

So tell me again why this is an issue? At a guess, because Mr. Bayatli (the correct spelling) is speaking from his personal understanding of Islam and not as a religious authority. Do a google search and you'll find quite a range of opinions on the subject of who must observe Ramadan, and how.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:09 PM on October 16

At a guess, because Mr. Bayatli (the correct spelling) is speaking from his personal understanding of Islam and not as a religious authority. Do a google search and you'll find quite a range of opinions on the subject of who must observe Ramadan, and how. Just as Mr. Bayalti (the correct spelling) opines a personal interpretation of Islamic belief, each Muslim athelete must also search within to formulate his/her course of action (no google search needed), if scheduling proves to be an obstacle.

posted by ledzep77 at 02:51 PM on October 16

Just as Mr. Bayalti (the correct spelling) opines a personal interpretation of Islamic belief, each Muslim athelete must also search within to formulate his/her course of action (no google search needed), if scheduling proves to be an obstacle. Ergo, it is unlikely that one person could authoritatively state that no problem exists. Oh, and about that google search? It's handy for all kinds of things, including finding the correct spelling of people's names, which the linked article apparently got wrong.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:09 PM on October 16

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: "They would not have organised this at Christmas Christmas isn't one month long

posted by bdaddy at 03:28 PM on October 16

And it's the same place in the Gregorian calendar (which, like it or not, is the timekeeper of record in much of the world) every year.

posted by chicobangs at 03:46 PM on October 16

It clashes with your religious beliefs? Then fine. Don't take part. It's not like they explictly scheduled it to fuck with them. "Wahey! Let's take down the powerhouse Muslim athletes by having the games during Ramadan. That'll fuck 'em!" US starts bombing Muslim's during Ramadan, it barely gets a mention (wasn't it "Gulf War Part 2: This Time It's Personal" that started during Ramadan?), but heaven forbid some utterly corrupted beyond it's original intent and now utterly meaningless sports event should coincide. Poor babies. bdaddy: Not only that, it's be a bit odd to hold the summer games in the middle of winter. And sporting events take place on Christmas Day in the western world anyway. Doesn't the world junior hockey tournament start on Christmas Day? Plus I'm fairly certain soccer games take place all over Easter. If Muslim's have a problem with this, then I guess they have to make a choice. What's more important to them? Medals, or religious beliefs.

posted by Drood at 03:47 PM on October 16

bdaddy: Not only that, it's be a bit odd to hold the summer games in the middle of winter. It sure was, wasn't it?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:24 PM on October 16

Not only that, it's be a bit odd to hold the summer games in the middle of winter. Not if they're in Australia or Brazil. If the Olympics overlapped Christmas, I'm sure the majority of Christian athletes would go, but many people would comment on how easy it would have been not to have put the athletes in that position. I suspect it will work out about the same in this instance. That the Ramadan is a month long is immaterial -- with six years advance time, it would be just as easy to duck as Christmas would be. I doubt at this point that changing the schedule by a month is significantly harder than changing it by a day. On edit: beat me to it, LBB. And your point is better made than mine. You, you're good. Yes, you are. YES YOU ARE.

posted by BullpenPro at 04:32 PM on October 16

I thought this quote from Bayatli summed it up best: "It would be nice for the friendship of the Games if they had chosen a different date." There are differing levels of religious dedication, and it will affect different athletes in different ways. Bottom line, it would certainly be a nice show of respect if they could reschedule.

posted by SummersEve at 04:46 PM on October 16

I thought this was a story, but then I saw it was in the Daily Mail.

posted by squealy at 06:18 PM on October 16

The World Cup in 1986 was held during Ramadan. I know, because I was working in Indonesia (you know, the world's largest Muslim nation, and football fanatics to a man and woman). Much press coverage concerned the teams from Muslim countries (e.g. Morocco) and whether they were fasting or not. Most weren't, and used the 'make up' system mentioned where you can observe fasting later, usually after the teams were knocked out. The sunrise to sunset issue is a vexed issue in higher latitudes. I had Indonesian students who went on scholarships to places like Norway when Ramadan fell in mid winter. They only had to fast for about an hour a day. Needless to say, Ramadan in northern Europe at the height of summer might be a different thing. Unfortunately I can't find any rules for these circumstances, but I'm sure your local mullah would be sympathetic, if not your fellow Muslims. And, being an Australian, and possibly a geek, I have spotted a small but significant error in this thread. The 2000 Summer Olympics were in fact held in our Spring. Down here the winter months are June, July, August. We don't hold with that whole equinox thing.

posted by owlhouse at 06:25 PM on October 16

If you want to discuss the issue of Ramadan coinciding with the Olympics, you're in the right place. If you want to discuss war, terror or anything else that bugs you about Muslims and have your hard work deleted with a single press of a button, you're also in the right place.

posted by rcade at 06:32 PM on October 16

The International Olympics Committee insisted the Games take place some time between July 15 to August 31, giving more than a week either side of Ramadan. Of course, if you start if before Ramadan, it would still be going when Ramadan started. And, if you ended the Olympics on August 31, then it would have to start during Ramadan. Simple solution. Start the Olympics, take a month long break for Ramadan, then start it back up. You could probably cram some events into the first week and get them over with, and then cram the rest of them into the last week. Are there any events that take the entire two weeks?

posted by graymatters at 06:41 PM on October 16

Ah, the apocalypse will be upon us long before this happens, so no worries. Multiplex got the contract for all the Olympic venues, then. Heh heh.

posted by owlhouse at 06:46 PM on October 16

And, being an Australian, and possibly a geek, I have spotted a small but significant error in this thread. The 2000 Summer Olympics were in fact held in our Spring. Down here the winter months are June, July, August. We don't hold with that whole equinox thing. I know, but I got handed a line and I couldn't resist. My point was, of course, that this was an example of an Olympics that was held a good month outside the usual July-August dates, and not only did the world not end, but seems like it was a damn fine 'lympics.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:30 PM on October 16

By the way, the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia didn't start until November 22nd, 1956, and ended December 8th, 1956. (Of course, this didn't include the equestrian events which occured back in June, in Stockholm Sweden.)

posted by grum@work at 09:18 PM on October 16

I have very different views on how to handle religious issues involving athletes, depending on whether we are talking about professional athletes or Olympians. For professional athletes who sign a contract, they have an obligation to perform to the best of their abilities in all games and practices, and that means keeping themselves properly fed and hydrated. A Muslim athlete who fasts during Ramadan will most likely be unable to perform at peak ability because of the effects of fasting, and that issue should be addressed in the player's contract language. Similarly, any player who refuses to play on certain days of the week should not be given a professional contract. His team needs him to be available to play, no matter when a game is scheduled. In contrast, the Olympics are as much about understanding and respecting other nationalities and cultures as they are about competing. Therefore, an effort should be made to reschedule the 2012 Games so they do not conflict with Ramadan. Holding the events only after sundown is not a practical option, so the entire Olympics should be rescheduled for a different part of the year (maybe during June). The rules for fasting during Ramadan should be changed so that no one ever has to fast for more than 12 hours, no matter how long daylight lasts. When Islam was founded, no one foresaw the possibility that Muslims would ever be living at high latitudes. The world has changed a lot in the last 1400 years--why can't Islam adapt?

posted by TerpFan at 11:20 PM on October 16

Hey, here's a thought... They can't eat from sunrise to sunset... Must really suck being a muslim in Norway...

posted by Drood at 12:57 AM on October 17

Similarly, any player who refuses to play on certain days of the week should not be given a professional contract. His team needs him to be available to play, no matter when a game is scheduled. You wouldn't sign Sandy Koufax?

posted by yerfatma at 06:24 AM on October 17

This is crazy. I see articles like this one about Uproar in Britain as Olympics fall on Ramadan, but I live here in Britain and it hasn't even made the news to my knowledge.

posted by squealy at 06:51 AM on October 17

Come on, squealy, don't play it down. Seriously, open the window, I can hear upro... oh no, wait... that's a bus. Sorry.

posted by JJ at 08:00 AM on October 17

You need to remember, we're talking about London weather. It was probably tough finding a period of two weeks when the weather wasn't going to be a major factor. Even in August, the average high is only 22C (72F), with some rain on more than two weeks of the month.

posted by opel70 at 09:32 AM on October 17

I honestly don't see this as being a big deal. In fact, I'm sure there has been religious conflict with the Olympics before, and compromises can be (and were)reached. This is hardly a big concern. My guess is that a few devouts may chose to honor their religios commitments above all others, while the rest of them are able to negotiate a separate plan where they can compete and observe the tradition without conflict. It also wouldn't hurt for the Olympic committee to try to schedule the games in a manner that will mitigate the conflict. It's when people start leveraging situations like this for political purposes that shit gets dicey. So everyone, play nice and leave your axes and agendas back at the office.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:00 AM on October 17

From the guidelines "The use of racist, sexist, or derogatory terms towards SportsFilter members or in the discussion of links is strictly forbidden." Hopefully you see this before yoru comment is deleted so you understand your infraction and don't repeat it.

posted by apoch at 08:43 PM on October 17

granted, high school athletics ain't exactly olympic competition, but these kids are finding ways to deal with competing during Ramadan.

posted by goddam at 10:33 PM on October 17

I am probably going to get bashed, but that never stopped me before. Religion has no place in sports and sports has no obligation to religion. It upsets me everytime I see a team kneel down and pray together- because I know they do not all believe it and some of them resent the prayer. It perplexes me every time I see an amateur athlete complain that a game falls on a holy day. We all have choices to make. Make the choice and do not complain that it was not fair- LIFE is not always fair at every persons perspective.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:45 PM on October 17

urall, you have a valid point. However, the reason people are upset is because the Olympic spirit is supposed to be about unity, not division. It's a dream of using sports to bring the world together, peace through competition. Which would require a deliberitely looking at a schedule and trying to find a time with as few conflicts as possible. Islam is the second largest religion with over a billion followers. Ramadan is a major holiday. So in the spirit of unity, you'd think they would be able to work something out.

posted by apoch at 04:24 AM on October 18

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