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Tuesday, 29 August 2006
I stand corrected
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At least semi-corrected—by Mary and Cisoux—as to the deeper cultural issues involved in the investigation by a government official into the use of the "sign of the cross" by a pro footballer at a game.

Dhimmitude?  Probably not.  Multi-culti lingo coming from a guvmint man?  It sounds that way to these American ears.  (It's also possible I'm just a bit cant-shy.)

Well, Play ball!

(Perhaps somebody can inform me why fan behavior in Europe is uncontrollable?)
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Posted on 08/29/2006 7:06 AM by Robert Bove
Comments
29 Aug 2006
Cisoux
To be fair, British football fans have improved their behaviour in the last ten to 15 years. The level of sectarian hatred in Glasgow is deep rooted and striking to observe. The faultlines, mythology, hatreds, history and bigotries of Belfast exist across Western Scotland and come to a boiling point in the football rivalry between Glasgow's teams. Whilst the war in Ulster was never fought with bombs and guns in the city of Glasgow, there have been incidences of Catholic/Protestant men in their respective football shirts being beaten to death in fights. A very volatile situation - a few years ago England's star player Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne, who played for Glasgow Rangers, was suspended and fined for making signs of the Ulster Loyalist marching bands at the Catholic Celtic fans. To be fair, the two teams have done much to discourage this, but the divisions are deep and probably wont ever dissapear.

29 Aug 2006
Send an emailMary Jackson
I think the point is that in the charged context of the game and the bitter sectarian rivalries, making the sign of the cross is not a neutral, religious gesture, but a provocative one, almost, but not quite, like making a V sign.

Thus, in that context, it is not about "multiculturalism" but about curbing aggressive behaviour and gestures that can lead to it. It was indeed an overreaction, but not multi-culti PC nonsense in the way that banning references to Christmas would be.(I can't see how it could conceivably be dhimmitude when there are no Muslims anywhere near the place.)

The behaviour of British soccer fans is a national disgrace at the best of times. When it comes to Celtic and Rangers it is out and out warfare.