In the normal course of events, if its evidence of the increasingly casual normalisation of Islamophobic memes in popular culture you’re looking for then your best ports of call will be one or more of The Sun, The Daily Mail and the Daily Express. In fact, just about the last place you’d think of looking for a bit of ‘OMFG, the Muslims are coming’ type commentary would be in the sports pages of the Independent but this clearly hasn’t prevented Sam Wallace from making his own personal pitch for a transfer to the Tabloid Premier League…
There are compromises to be made too. [Manchester] City are now in the ownership of an Arab royal family who rule by hereditary dictatorship in a country where strict Sharia law is observed. If, in a street, you were to re-enact the average emotionally wrought City goal celebration – or say the joyful aftermath of Paul Dickov’s equaliser in the 1999 play-off final – you might well get arrested. Possibly deported. City fans may have already made their peace with the dubious Thaksin Shinawatra but they will have to do it all over again with the Arabs.
Yes, Sam really is waxing lyrical on the subject of the takeover of Manchester City Football Club by Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development, part of a sovereign wealth fund owned by the royal family of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, although you might easily be forgiven for thinking, from Sam’s comments, that they’d annexed the East side of Manchester rather than bought a football club.
Unless I’m completely out of touch with domestic events and the Salvation Army have staged a military coup and installed Rowan Williams as our new El Presidente then I think we can be fairly sure that placing the City of Manchester Stadium under Sharia law is not going to be high the the new owner’s list of priorities, in fact I doubt very much that they’ll even get around to insisting that only Halal balti pies are sold in the stadium or banning smokey bacon crisps, so I think its pretty safe to assume that we won’t be seeing sky blue Jilbabs on sale in the club shop or the erection of a breezeblock wall in the dressing room for Tal Ben Haim to sit behind – with or without a specially commissioned mural by Banksy – and that fans who leave the stands and run onto the playing area will continue to be banned from the stadium rather than face public beheading as part of the half-time entertainment.
In short, the fact that Abu Dhabi employs a strict form of Sharia law has absolutely fuck all to do with the takeover of Manchester City Football Club and Sam should stick to writing about football and lay off the smartarse comments.