Pick a Muslim country to host a major sports event

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Pick a Muslim country to host a major sports event

In the age of terrorism, I think it’s safe to say that any one of us has had a fair share of nightmares of being blown to pieces by a bomb in a subway or a stadium.
In the latter case, because of the resulting media coverage, the effects would be as devastating as the recent attacks in London.
The Super Bowl, World Cup, the Olympic Games ― there are an endless list of targets that must be tempting for lunatics hoping to make their point with deadly weapons. Even with beefed-up security, there will always be a chance of a bomb slipping past the screening process that is detonated with devastating results.
If that happens, there might be a day when FIFA does not mandate closed-door games to nations as a penalty. Viewing a sporting event might come in a way we would never have imagined before ― only televised.
Individual cameras might be attached to the players’ bodies to make up for the live atmosphere that fans seek when they buy a ticket to a game. Yes, I can see a day coming when a Sports Defense Force is added to each country’s armed forces. While politicians around the world make a political fuss about defense budgets, there would be no arguing here. The Sports Defense Budget gets an annual automatic increase to match at least 10 percent of a country’s gross domestic product without a peep. The UN creates the Sports Defense Force...well, you can imagine the rest on your own.
So what to do to uphold the ancient right of going to a game and scream: “YOU S―-!” while gulping down a cold one? We have to attack the root of the problem.
While hard, sheer military power is certainly one way to do it, there are other less life consuming options. Someone says that included in the definition of “soft power” is a country’s culture. Some say that that means popular cultural power. What more powerful soft power is there than a sport, or sports event that has a universal appeal?
Global sports events such as the World Cup or the Olympics are often used to boost a country’s economic standing and social status. That is why we have even wealthy nations hosting these international sports events.
But we need a new approach here. Last year, FIFA awarded the hosting rights of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. Morocco, Egypt and Libya were all left behind. One can argue that South Africa has a much better infrastructure and experience in hosting international events. True. But we missed out on an opportunity to create the nucleus in a Muslim country that could lead to better things not only for the country itself but all other places where Islam is the main religion.
Even with the burden of others chipping in, the next big sports event should be held in a Muslim country. Preferably, a poor country that serves as the recruiting ground for terrorists who portray the rest of the world as the sole reason for what is wrong in that country and other poor Muslim nations. Hosting a big sports event in such a country is the best way to bring about positive change and to show that “different” does not mean “bad.”


by Brian Lee
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