This is the Target cashier/Muslim taxi driver problem all over again where Muslims don’t just practice their religion, but impose its mandates on others by refusing to do their job and perform services for non-Muslims whom they consider to be violating Islamic law.
The story is Wonga, a UK version of a Payday loan operator, struck a deal with Newscastle United, a soccer team, to have the Wonga logo on their shirt. The Muslim Council of Britain has announced that Wonga is not Sharia compliant and at least four Muslim Newscastle players may refuse to wear the shirts.
But that raises the question of what logos Muslim players can wear? Any chain that sells ham and liquor would be out. So would any company that does business with Israel. So would any company with defense ties. So would any financial institution that engages in non-Sharia compliant finance. So would any company that uses spokeswomen who don’t wear Hijabs. So would any company that sells chess sets or kites. Or shaving kits.
In practice the list goes on nearly forever and allows Muslims to reject access to nearly any sort of company. Picking Wonga is a strategic maneuver, because like many Payday lenders it’s disliked by people other than Muslims, but the idea that Sharia objections stop at Wonga and don’t extend to any other company is wrong. Once the precedent has been set, it can be extended, and Muslim soccer players, like all Muslims, are being used as the tools of enforcing Islamic law on a non-Islamic land.
As a mark of cynicism, prior to its sponsorship by Wonga, Newscastle was sponsored by Virgin Money, which is exactly what you think it is, run exactly by who you think it is. The devout Muslim players seemed to have no problem with Virgin Money, but perhaps they were under the impression it had something to do with their religion’s 72 virgins.