Sarah Samir

A Matter of Perspective

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah A-Sisi was quoted saying, "We must revolutionize our religion. This never seemed more relevant.

An important milestone has occurred this week in Egyptian football. For the first time, a woman was refereeing a men’s football match. Her name is Sarah Samir, and she took charge of the match between Wadi Degla FC and Talaea El Gaish SC in the Egyptian Football League’s third division.

The event has gone viral in the social networks of the Arab world. The discussions obviously then turned to religion, as the question was whether it is by Islam’s rules to accept such a situation. The opinions are divided, but the majority of reactions were praising the decision made by the Egyptian Association.

Egypt is joining a few other Middle Eastern and North African countries which allow women to referee at men’s football games. The United Arab Emirates, Syria, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia already have women as match’s referees of official games.   

On the other hand, various Iraqi sources are reporting that the Islamic State executed yesterday 13 teenagers, who watched the Asian Cup match between Iraq and Palestine. For these Jihadists, football is a symbol of the western world.

In addition, Iranian local politicians has threatened the national team’s players, after some of them were posing in ‘selfie’ photos with female fans during their stay in Australia, while participating in the Asian Cup and representing their country. By the Shari'a rules, taking selfies counts as a highly inappropriate act.

Islam and football relations have reached a boiling point this week, and it will be interesting to see where this discussion will develop, and which effect it will have on the the game in the Muslim world.