Interfaith Soccer: To kick or not to kick the ball

Soccer game for priests, imams canceled

OSLO, Norway (AP) - A soccer game bringing Muslim imams and Christian priests "shoulder to shoulder" on a field in Norway was cancelled Saturday because the teams could not agree on whether women priests should take part. 

The game was to mark the end of a day-long "Shoulder to Shoulder" conference in Oslo that encouraged religious dialogue between the two faiths. 

Church of Norway spokesman Olav Fykse Tveit said differences began when the imams refused to play against a mixed-gender team of priests because it would have gone against their religious beliefs in avoiding close physical contact with women. 

"We found that out two days before, but because we thought it would be a nice conclusion of the conference we didn't want to call it off, so we decided to stage an all-men's team game instead," he said. 

But when the church decided to drop its female players, the priest team captain walked out in protest. 

Just hours before Saturday's scheduled game, the church released a statement saying it had called it off because it was sending the wrong signal. 

"We realize now that it will be wrong to have a priest team without women. . . . The reactions we have had today shows us that this is being interpreted as a gender-political issue. This is why we cannot go through with the soccer match." 

Fykse Tveit said that, despite the differences on the field, "one very good lesson we've learned from this is that when we co-operate, we also enter each others boundaries, and that's a positive thing." 

Source: CANOE (Canadian Online Explorer

  Category: Europe, Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society, Nature & Science
  Topics: Interfaith, Soccer
Views: 3807

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Older Comments:
Assalamu alaykum,
as a Haiku.....
Sounds to me like the
priests forfeited the event.
the imams have won.
On the other hand this should have been
discussed when the idea was first suggested.
If the imams and priests had a picnic instead
would the pork ribs be cooked
on a separate grill from the lamb?
Peace and Blessings

Salam to all, priests offered this game to muslim's iman just for moquery. They know well what islam says about women behavior. What the iman did was good and Allah will reward them about. do not look at what people are saying or will say afer you follow the way of your God. Play football with them is good but get fisycs contact with foreign women is not allowed by islam. The decision is from Allah and not from the imams themselves.May Allah guide us to the right way....

A soccer game bringing Muslim imams and Christian priests "shoulder to shoulder" on a field in Norway was cancelled Saturday because the teams could not agree on whether women priests should take part.

The game was to mark the end of a day-long "Shoulder to Shoulder" conference in Oslo that encouraged religious dialogue between the two faiths.

If any profess faith, the ground of the profession is the Scriptures. In this report, I take side with the imams for their willingness to face people of other faith. This looks sincere. As per the church team with ladies, even the lay people know that sports matches are competed by groups of same sexes and capability. The church under the captainship of the priest is definitely a looser. Moreover, that church does not represent other Churches functioning on Scriptural Order not having ordained priestesses.

First of all so called inter faith gatherings are nonsense.

Secondly if the priests want to overlook the Church's centuries old standard about women not being part of the priesthood then they are hypocrites and not worth mixing with.

This is an old story. Not worthy of being the lead story by any stretch of imagination.

Somehow I get the impression you want to be a tabloid!

Thank you Alex, hopefully your response will shut Romesh up!

Here you go again Romesh. I don't know why iViews lets you post your comments that are mostly drooling with hate. You pot shots at Muslims are filled with bias.

Gender relations is an evolving issue. Remember in the West women only got to vote and the right to own property in the late 1800. Before you show your disdain for the Imams, look at your own compatriot Indians who went on a rampage and burning of Richard Gear effigies after he gave a little extra embrace to the bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty.

As-salaam alaykum wa ramahtullah wa barakatuh

Great article. It made me laugh.

Maybe there should be female imams. Either way, if a woman is kicking a ball at your head, trying to trip you, or stomping on your shins, that can't be considered 'close' contact leading to anything but a brawl or a handshake... or, Allah (swt)might actually cause there to be a spirit of mutual sister and brotherhood.

Ma salaam

First off... you can neither agree or disagree such an article, cause it does not have a point. it is only a news item.

As to what should the priests do, OK; here is my 67 cents on the matter.

Piests have done the wrong thing by calling it off.

IMAMs were right in asking what they've asked. It's a religious thing they cannot overcome that.

This is not to say I don't respect or understand the point of view that the priests have taken though. They've done what seemed just to the ladies among them, which is respectable.

However, they were wrong in the reasoning that "it was sending the wrong signal. "

They would have never sent a "wrong signal" by not including the women priest. That matter could have been handsomely addressed. All they had to do was to play the game and before or after give a press release in explaining why they had to not include the women priests. Anyone with the right mind would have understood that.

If priest clergy had done that, they would have already scored one goal against the IMAMs. Because of missing this excellent goal, I take the IMAMs as the winner of this game.


Assalamu alaykum,
Interfaith? One group or the other will compromise....alhamdulillah the imams kept their ground....since most of the time we end up compromising our deen to please people....
The Noble Qur'an 2:120 - Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. ...
The Noble Qur'an 68:9- They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.
Take care

It reminds of me a time when a guy got up in a mosque and said: islam is a great religion, but it interferes in ones everyday life. I can see here that comment is actually correct. These people need to stop runing everythign in the name of " unislamic". It is getting old and ridiculous. Everyone is dishing out fatwas over stupid thing.

At the end, What happended to all the interfaith work? Probably went down the tube.

I wonder if imams closed their ears when women priests were giving 'sermons' or even doing the discussions? Do they read books written by these women priests; after all, in Islam, there are no women imams.

The article did not surprise me; there was nothing new there. The problems remain the same with no solutions.