Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Religious Rackets Racquets

Honestly, I don't know why this story amuses me so much but it does. And I have absolutely no doubt that it says far far more about me than anything else but, still, petty, juvenile, puerile amused I remain.

In the Anatolian town of Konya - one of the most religiously conservative parts of Turkey - the mufti there has announced that students taking a summer course in Qu'ranic studies will also have the opportunity to learn badminton.

Yes, students who opt to save their souls by taking the 8-week God-intensive classes and, of course, who express a modicum of interest in the game, will be able to "watch a CD on badminton and then participate in the sport." There is no mention of an actual instructor.

The roots (or feathers) of badminton can be traced back to ancient Greece and given the on-again/off-again hostilities Turkey harbours towards Greece (i.e., since the dawn of time Greece has stolen anything & everything it possibly could - including a few islands in the Aegean - from Turkey), I'm surprised that they even allow it played here, let alone in a religious institution. Indeed, one of my favourite games at school is suggesting to students that it was the Greeks who invented baklava or the döner. Money just can't buy moments like those.

Then again, besides producing stunning carpets and religious zealots, Konya is the final resting place for Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, the Persian poet who was the founder of the Sufi order - of Whirling Dervishes fame. Maybe spinning mystics and flailing racquets aren't that incongruous.

In any case, I just hope the word shuttlecock translates into something equally prurient in Turkish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the Greeks invented baklava or the doner" comment, lol....think you know how to stir it up a bit.