Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Al Azhar's Grand Mufti issues fatwa against cyclocross perversion
Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt
This afternoon the mufti came to my school and gave a little talk to us on how we had ignored the warnings of Muslim moderates before 9/11. (They were telling us all along, "these guys are crazy," but we had ignored them. Then 9/11 happened, and we totally freaked out, and moderates like the Grand Mufti were like, "told you so!")
And how Islam had never had an inquisition, or, at least, it had never had the cruel genius to invent things like the iron maiden or the rack to convert heretics, and thus left no evidence of its atrocities in the name of Allah.
And how Muslim had never repressed women; indeed, how Muslim women totally rule, in the figurative sense (Not literally, of course. Only men are fit for literal rule, obviously).
In his simple black robe and classy white fez, Egypt's Grand Mufti reminded me of pre-sexual libertinian David Letterman.
During the Mufti's spiel, I wondered if he would agree that in some parts of the Middle East, Muslims love their women so much that they never allow them to leave home or show their faces or to choose to keep their clitori--something that, in terms of nice things, is up there with white hood covers. Respect.
The mufti was saying that those who repress women and commit terrorist acts and so forth are not true Muslims, and I suppose I should trust him because, after all, he is the G-Muft and I'm only a cyclist. But I still think repression is a problem for Islam, not just something bad Muslims do.
I suppose it's a good thing, then, that I did not have a chance to ask a question and reveal my anti-Islamic bent.
I thought about questions I might ask this guy--probably the foremost spokesman for moderate Islam in the world (i.e., the Cavendish of moderate Islamic clerics).
I might hold up a picture of a bunch of guys in tights. What do you think of these guys? I might ask.
I might hold up a picture of a bunch of these guys riding bikes meant for the road, but doing it in mud--formerly, the sole province of mountain bikes. What do you think of this? I might ask.
A perversion, the mufti might say. And I would love him for that.
To even think such things is, of course, quite wrong. It would be like asking the Pope if he had a spare rack lying around, and if he'd care to join me in putting Dan Snyder on it as punishment for destroying the once honorable franchise known as the Redskins. One doesn't make such statements.
Sports like cycling are frivolous. They are forms of escapism, unlike religion, with its afterlife, its angels and saints and stories of boys killing giants with slingshots, its stories of rivers of water parting and pillars of fire, its four horsemen returning in the skies at the end of time and wars in the Valley of Meggido at the end of time where the blood rises to the bridle of a horse. Jesus kicking ass in the temple whipping the money changers. No, this is all quite serious and not at all escapist.
Cycling, in contrast, has nothing to do with ordering our lives, with giving us a spiritual experience which explains our purpose on Earth, with establishing our community and creating norms. With introducing us to the edge of the physical world, where the sensations edge out and time stretches toward infinity. No. Cycling is frivolous.
Oh, for frivolity.