Thursday, October 11, 2007

Germany punishes racist Iranian-born soccer player over his refusal to play against Israel

It’s nice to see that somebody is holding Iranian extremists accountable for the anti-Semitic nonsense they pull.

German officials have announced that Iranian-born German soccer player Ashkan Dejagah (left) has been permanently suspended from the German-Under-21 team. Dejagah, 20, had refused to play in a match against Israel for the Under-21 European Championship qualifying match in Tel Aviv. He cited personal reasons, but the German daily newspaper Bild quoted the striker as saying his refusal was for “political reasons.” Bild also quoted him as saying, “Everybody knows I am an Iranian-born German.”

Dejagah plays for the Bundesliga side VFB Wolfsburg soccer team.

Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist. It does not allow its citizens to travel to Israel. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be wiped off the map and has questioned whether the Holocaust really took place. In Germany, where millions of Jews died in concentration camps during World War II, it is a crime to deny that the Holocaust took place.

Think this young soccer star is the first Iranian to take such a stand of refusing to play against Israel? Guess again.

In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Iranian judo athlete Arash Miresmaeili forfeited a match rather than compete against Israeli Ehud Vaks. A spokesperson for the Iranian National Olympic Committee released this statement at the time: “This is a general policy of our country, to refrain from competing against athletes of the Zionist regime, and Arash Miresmaeili has observed this policy.”

Miresmaeili had this to say, according to an Iranian news agency: “Although I have trained for months and am in shape, I refused to face my Israeli rival in sympathy with the oppressed Palestinian people…” He later claimed that his disqualification was due to weight problems, but reportedly he was observed gorging on food before a weigh-in in an attempt to deliberately be overweight. The Iranian also allegedly was still awarded with $115,000—the prize normally given to gold medalists—when he got home.

Regarding Dejagah and Miresmaeli, I sure wish I knew the Farsi words for “Whatever, you racist pigs.”

No comments: