Monday, March 5, 2012

At least in this case Muslim faith had no place in the argument and I was wrong!

The argument concerned Texas basketball and an Orthodox Jewish high school!

You may or may not have heard the story about the Texas high school basketball team from Beren Academy in Houston.

The crux of the story is that Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish institution, had made it to the semifinals of the TAPPS 2A basketball tournament.

The problems began when the schedule for the game against Dallas Covenant had it being played after sunset on Friday, the official start of the Jewish Sabbath.

To play the game would have been to violate Jewish law, something that Beren Academy was not prepared to do.

Their opponent was willing to change the game time to accommodate Beren, but the TAPPS board voted 9-0 against allowing that to happen.

This nay vote would have resulted in Beren Academy being replaced by the team it had beaten in the previous round.

Only though legal action did the TAPPS board relent, the semifinal game time was moved to 3PM and Beren went on to win. They subsequently lost in the finals which took place after sundown on Saturday night.

My indirect reference to the Muslim faith!

Alluding to the initial negative decision made by the TAPPS board I made the following statement that, while somewhat cryptic, offered my view on the religious controversy.

"The temptation at this point might be to ask if a team not of the Jewish faith but some other faith had been prohibited from playing the game due to religious doctrine, what the vote of the TAPPS board might have been, In the spirit of sportsmanship, however, I will refrain..."

In other words this statement put forward my belief that had a team observing the Muslim faith been in this same situation instead of Beren Academy, the TAPPS board likely would have bent over backwards to accommodate them.

My opinion was based on anecdotal evidence observed throughout our society whereby such accommodations had been proffered in the past.

In the case of TAPPS I couldn't have been more wrong!

It seems that the issue of membership in TAPPS, the body that organizes competition between over 200 schools in Texas, is more of a Catholic-Non-Catholic school issue than anything else.

While I took the initial treatment of the Beren Academy basketball team to be suspect for what I assumed was a lack of tolerance for Jewish law and tradition, TAPPS seems to have an equal if not greater intolerance for the Muslim faith.

Imagine filling out the application for TAPPS membership as the Iman Academy SW of Houston did, and finding the following on it:

"...Members of the Tapps executive board have little knowledge of Islam and the Koran, so it is possible that some of the passages taken from the Koran have been taken out of context. If so, please help them understand…

¶ “Historically, there is nothing in the Koran that fully embraces Christianity or Judaism in the way a Christian and/or a Jew understands his religion. Why, then, are you interested in joining an association whose basic beliefs your religion condemns?”

¶ “It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your religious beliefs?”

¶ “How does your school address certain Christian concepts? (i.e. celebrating Christmas)…”

Iman Academy SW filled out this application that other schools of Muslim faith declined to do, and its membership into TAPPS was declined!


So while I stand by my opinion that people and organizations of Muslim faith may tend to be granted certain things that other faiths such as Judaism may not, all that I can say after this episode is that's Texas!

And after saying that, nothing more needs to be said!

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