.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Malaysia clerics cool sales of Portugal soccer jerseys

From Bikya Masr:

The small street seller had all the European club jerseys ready for sale on Saturday evening, as passersby wanted to grab their favorite international shirt ahead of this month’s Euro 2012. But for Portugal fans, the jersey was nowhere to be found.

We are not allowed to sell the jersey because it shows a cross,” the shopkeeper told Bikyamasr.com. “I still love Portugal and will be rooting for them, but we are an Islamic country and don’t want to get people angry,” he added.

While it is not officially banned in the country, a number of Islamic clerics have voiced their concern over the jersey, which has a large cross on the front, highlighting Portugal’s Catholic faith. But in Malaysia, symbols often find themselves under attack by the country’s virulent Muslim clerics.

Portugal is not the only jersey to be pulled from the shelves. Brazil, which also boasts a large cross, has been barred by clerics. Manchester United, the world’s most popular club team, has also sparked the ire of clerics in the Southeast Asian country over its nickname, the Red Devils.

Despite the Old Trafford side having an estimated 81 million followers in Asia, one senior cleric said: “You are only promoting the devil.”

“This is very dangerous. As a Muslim we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils,” another added, in a Forbes report.

“It will erode our belief in Islam. There is no reason why we as Muslims should wear such jerseys, either for sports or fashion reasons.”