And again..only in Kali.
Sunday December 7, 2003 3:46 PM
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - It was planned as a way to bring young athletes together for a weekend of fun, but when participants in the Muslim Football tournament started naming their teams Intifada, Soldiers of Allah and Mujahideen, Jewish leaders took offense.
Intifada, ``uprising'' in Arabic, is the term used by Palestinians for their revolts against Israeli occupation from 1987 to 1993 and over the past three years. The recent intifada has seen numerous suicide bombings by Palestinian militants. Mujahideen means holy warrior.
Rabbi Bernie King, who lives in Irvine, said the teams' names undermined those who worked to have closer relations with Muslims.
``Something like this ... tends to support those in the community who have suspicions about the real intent of Islam,'' King said.
``What exactly are they honoring here?'' asked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization. ``The continued targeting of innocent women and children by homicide bombers deserves to be condemned across the board. It's deeply, deeply disturbing.''
One of the Jan. 4 tournament's organizers said the names were meant to show support for Muslims in the Middle East, but also represent football bravado.
``A lot of the kids on our team are from Palestinian origin,'' said Tarek Shawky, Intifada's 29-year-old captain and quarterback. ``We are in solidarity with people in the uprising. It's about human rights and basic freedoms.''
Fellow tournament organizer Sabih Khan said he had worried about the names and had asked the teams to change them.
``It bothers me a little bit,'' said Khan, 18. But, he added: ``They were just trying to be cool.''