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» 08/06/2012
GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
London Olympics 2012: A comeback for faith, in a country that has banned religious symbols
In Great Britain it is illegal to wear religious symbols in public places and at work public. Exemplary story of the stewardess sacked for wearing a cross. However, athletes involved in the Games do not hide their religious beliefs. Before and after races, signs of the cross, prostrations and prayers of thanksgiving.

London (AsiaNews) - Banned by the labor laws and national standards in the discipline of public places, religions and their symbols are back in full view on British soil during the London 2012 Olympics, as the Games enter the last week. From sprinter Usain Bolt to Saudi judoka Wojdan Shaherkani from Maziah Mahusin - the first female athlete from the Sultanate of Brunei - to the distance runner Mohamed Farah House, fresh from winning the 10 thousand meters, the 30th edition has been marked by many competitors revealing the profound meaning that their faith holds for them. It becomes an element of strength and concentration prior to race, or a gesture of thanks after a success four years in the making, the result of long and hard training.

If UK labor laws were applied to the Games, the king of speed Usain Bolt - the Jamaican who yesterday repeated his Olympic success of Beijing 2008 - would be disqualified for having made the sign of the cross and for the Christian religious symbol around his neck. A paradox? An exaggeration? Not at all, if we think back to the case of the British Airways stewardess, fired for wearing a cross. For the record, she also lost the case in court, where for judges rules that religious symbols should not be publically displayed - or simply worn - in the name of "political correctness" that all the queen's subjects must observe.

A separate chapter is devoted to the first Saudi woman to compete in the Olympics: the 18 year-old judoka Wojdan Shaherkani, at the center of a heated argument between the Federation and Saudi delegation over the type of veil that the fighter would have to wear. For judo officials, the traditional veil - the hijab - could jeopardize the safety of the athlete, with a risk of suffocation. The Riyadh delegation was inflexible on her wearing the traditional Islamic veil. In the end an agreement was reached and for 82 seconds - the time taken for her defeat - she was able to compete wearing a black cap on the Olympic stage. And, in spite of the results, she says she is ready to resume training toward Rio 2016.

However, it has been a Team GB member to really redeem the value of faith in a nation that wants to hide religious symbols; distance runner Mohamed Farah (pictured), who won the 10 thousand meters. After the race, the 29-year old Somali-born athlete who grew up in England - a Muslim - knelt on track and thanked Allah for his success. A spontaneous gesture, after four years of hard work and sacrifices. Who, unlike the British Airways stewardess, will not inccur disqualification or the withdrawal of his Olympic medal.

 


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See also
07/17/2012 INDIA - OLYMPICS
London 2012, judo champion fuels India’s Olympic dreams
03/28/2006 MIDDLE EAST
Inter-faith meeting upholds religious freedom
by Jihad Issa
08/13/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
London 2012: US overtakes China as top medal winner
06/26/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia confirms: women can attend the Olympics
10/26/2004 INDONESIA
Despite wall demolition, tensions remain high at the St Bernadette-Sang Timur School compound

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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