The latest eruption of political correctness run amok involves, of all things, Muslim football teams.
You heard right. A group of young Muslim men in Southern California organized what were basically a series of pickup football games for the New Year's holiday. The trouble began after the young men chose names for the teams. Some of the suggestions ("Muslim Football All-Stars," "4th and Goal") were harmless enough. But others were, to critics, clearly out of bounds.
There was Intifada, the term Palestinians use to describe revolts against Israeli occupation. And Soldiers of Allah. And Mujaheddin, a term that means "holy warrior" and has been used in reference to Islamic terrorist groups. Totally unacceptable, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Southern California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center. Cooper told the Associated Press that such words are "linked to real terrorists, real threats, real murders." And using them only glorifies terrorism.
With all due respect, Rabbi, that's a real stretch. We're talking about football teams, remember? A little perspective wouldn't hurt.
Judging from the comments of some of the players, most of whom are in their twenties, there doesn't seem to have been any malicious intent. It might be different if all the suggested team names were as politically charged as the three at issue. That might have meant that the objective all along was to provoke non-Muslims. As it stands, it looks as though these young men never considered the possibility that the seemingly innocuous act of choosing names for football teams might prompt others to declare the equivalent of a rhetorical holy war on them. Some of the players have even quit the tournament because hate mail and talk-radio rants have them fearing for their safety. Notably, the critics include some older Muslim leaders who have asked the young men to change the names to something more sensitive...