In the civilized world, it is universally recognized and axiomatic that sport, whether tennis, judo or boxing, transcends politics. Sure the fans may root for the home team and wish to see their nationals triumph, but for the sportsmen and women involved in the match, it is a matter of love of the game, testing the limits of one’s own abilities, and respect for the opposing player’s talents. Hence, boxers for example, may pummel each other for twelve rounds but always touch gloves before the bout and generally congratulate each other after. The same holds true for most other sporting events, and this is particularly true of sporting events where aggressive physical contact is central to the game.
But what is self-evident in the civilized West does not necessarily hold true for the Islamic East. Consider the strange case of Enas Moustafa Youssef Khourshid, a female Egyptian wrestler who was paired against Ilana Kartysh of Israel during a June 3 semifinal match at a Grand Prix event in Sassari, Italy. The Egyptian was outclassed by her Israeli opponent (who went on to win the gold) and lost the bout, but what was extraordinary about the event was not the match itself, but how the Egyptian conducted herself during the competition. First, the Egyptian violated wrestling protocol by refusing to shake hands with her Israeli opponent. Then, during the match, the Egyptian sunk her teeth into her opponent’s back, drawing blood.
Khourshid’s reprehensible behavior, which drew a suspension, is not an isolated incident. Unsportsmanlike conduct occurs with regular frequency in the Islamist world. In 2011, Ramadan Darwish, an Egyptian Judoka, refused to shake hands with Arik Ze’evi, his Israeli counterpart, after the Israeli trounced Darwish in a Judo tournament. He also refused to bow, a crude and disrespectful act that is unheard of in the world of martial arts. Darwish’s crass behavior prompted the referee to recall him to the floor and only after repeated requests did Darwish return, only to direct his bow toward the referee and not toward his opponent thus compounding the indignity. Darwish’s repugnant display can be viewed here.
In a 2010 weight lifting competition, an Iranian second runner-up snubbed the Israeli first place winner, Sergio Britva, and refused to shake his hand. The Iranian, however, was forced to stand on the podium as Israel’s national anthem was played and her flag raised, but scattered rather quickly upon completion of the ceremony.
Muslim and Arab unsportsmanlike malevolence is not merely limited to biting and snubbing. On several occasions, Muslim players have feigned illness to avoid competing with Israelis. In yet another outrage, two Lebanese Judo players requested that Olympic committee members place a partition between them and Israeli Judokas who were practicing nearby. Olympic officials obscenely complied with the Apartheid-like, Islamist request.
These odious incidents are symptomatic of a diseased and corrupt Islamist culture, one that fosters hate, suspicion, ignorance and xenophobia. If any other group acted in this manner, sports officials would ban them indefinitely and rightly so. But for some reason, Islamist nations get a free pass, and so, in the absence of any meaningful sanction, their racist behavior continues and grows more outrageous. Khourshid’s suspension represents a step in the right direction and those officials who imposed it should be lauded, but clearly, international sporting officials need to impose stiffer sanctions and indefinitely ban those who engage in behavior that represents the antithesis of sportsmanlike conduct.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.