Newcastle United’s Muslim Players in Breach of Sharia Law if they wear Wonga Shirts

By Community | October 10, 2012

Newcastle United’s contingent of Muslim players have been warned that wearing the club’s new sponsored shirts would infringe upon Sharia Law.

The Premier League announced a new shirt deal with controversial moneylenders Wonga on Tuesday, and now the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have attempted to intervene. 

United have received widespread criticism from fans after unveiling the four-year deal with the short-term loan company, and the MCB has now piled on further criticism.

The four first team Muslim players Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Hatem Ben Arfa – and all are now being urged to make a stand.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the MCB, told the Independent: “There are two aspects to this. We have the rulings of the religious law and we have the individual’s choice and decision on how they want to follow or not follow that rule.

“The idea is to protect the vulnerable and the needy from exploitation by the rich and powerful.

“When they are lending and are charging large amounts of interest, it means the poor will have short-term benefit from the loan but long-term difficulty in paying it back because the rate of interest is not something they can keep up with.”

He added: “The Islamic system is based on a non-interest-based system of transaction.”

Frédéric Kanouté, the former West Ham striker, refused to wear the logo of gambling website 888.com when he played for Seville in La Liga because of his religious beliefs. The club allowed him to play games in an unbranded shirt although he had to wear the logo on his training equipment. 

“Freddie was allowed to wear a top without the 888.com and that is a reasonable request to be made by the player,” added Mogra. “Assuming all four are on the pitch at the same time, if you have seven out of 11 you have sufficient coverage. It is not asking too much, I believe.”

The club did its best to offset criticism of the new deal by announcing that the Sports Direct Arena would revert to its original name of St James’ Park, but it has not prevented MPs and large numbers of people through social media continuing the criticism.