May 28, 2006


I was really surprised by this AFP news, which quoted an unknown cleric of a mosque of a small town of Bangladesh telling Bangladeshi Muslims in a sermon not to fly the flags of any 'infidel' nations playing in the Football World Cup.

However, the report also highlights:

His call came as thousands of flags of World Cup football favourites fluttered over Bangladesh's cities and towns with the tournament less than two weeks away.

Most of the flags flying from the rooftops of houses and windows of apartments are of the two World Cup favourites -- Argentina and Brazil -- as most football fans support the team of either one nation or the other. But some fans were also flying the flags of Germany, France and Italy.

Ironically the clerics quote takes the attention away from the craze of Bangladeshis over the play, which has recently been superseded by cricket. As Bangladesh is way down the line in football according to FIFA rank, they are more comfortable as adamant supporters of the South American and European top nations, which have won the previous world cups. No doubt the supporters like to be on the winning side. During any world cup, if you go along a Bangladeshi street whether its in the capital or in a small town, you will see flags of Argentina, Brazil or other nations hoisted in the roof. And there are no religious biasness in the support.

Bangladeshi students have a lot of things to protest, but none are as earnest as the demand to postpone exams after the world cup. On request of the Bangladeshi journalists, FIFA president Sepp Blatter had to intervene personally to more than double the coverage of next month's World Cup in football-crazy Bangladesh. There are free TV coverage available of almost all the matches which makes the TV sells sore every four years. More than 71,000 prisoners of 66 prisons in Bangladesh will enjoy World Cup for the first time this year.

But the AFP reporter had taken all the trouble to go to Ishwardi to find this cleric and to quote him. This guy is a nobody and it really does not matter when a sheep blabbers.

And after reading the AFP news the international audience will have a different view of the Bangladeshis. Isn't this called a jaundiced eye view?


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