The SBS ‘Insight’ programme recently discussed a theme of ‘Fear of Muslims’ attempting to contextualise and understand growing anti-Muslim sentiment around the world and its impact in Australia.
It was evidenced on the show that people fear the extreme forms of Islam but also have little idea of the fact that the large percentage of Muslims, just like anyone else, do obey the laws of their chosen countries. But the news isn’t all negative.
Despite the lack of cohesive responses during the Insight program, it has been proven time and again that Australians are particularly welcoming towards refugee and recent migrants within the framework of sport - perhaps moreso than anywhere else in our society. In the same way that Kinglake was symbolically given new life through sport when bushfire victims of Black Saturday banded together to play football a year after the tragedy, those that come to our country can experience the same community spirit through sports activity on a local level.
At Sports Without Borders we cry out that ‘We are all on the Same Team’.
This a statement of UNITY amongst races and religions, upholding simple sport as the great unifier, particularly for the young. As such, we thoroughly support the integration of Muslims and all other recently arrived new Australians into their local communities through organised sport.
For the last four years, SWB has supported the ‘Unity Cup’ in concert with the Essendon Football Club and the Australian Federal Police. This is a ‘lightning premiership’ style cup where four Muslim teams play off against each other to hold the title. SWB also supported ‘Picnic at the G’ giving Muslim mothers a day out travel to the MCG where they were able to meet Victorian state players and generally enjoy themselves. And young and talented Muslim girls have joined the Brunswick Zebras Football Club as a result of direct grants from SWB.
Local sport is the ‘Glue’ of our society in Australia. It can result in the rejuvenation, the re-birth and the renewed vigour of not only a sports club but the wider community itself. This nation has a history of welcoming new members to its sporting ranks regardless of race, colour and creed and this tradition must continue.