A Good Use For The Game

In the Netherlands, a Muslim football team and a gay football team played each other to prove that after all, it is possible for us all to just get along. (Hat tip: Norm). The Muslims won 4-0:

The soccer tournament was organized as part of a conference on fighting discrimination against immigrants who come out as gay — particularly, against gay Muslims by other Muslims.

As well as gays playing against Muslims, a team of women played Latinos, with some players swapping sides to illustrate competing identities.

Long renowned for its tolerance and liberal attitudes on issues such as gay marriage and cannabis use, social tensions have risen in The Netherlands since the 2002 murder of openly gay anti-immigration populist Pim Fortuyn.

High-profile attacks on homosexuals in Amsterdam last year stoked a debate about homophobia blamed on the country’s growing immigrant community — particularly Muslims, who make up 6 percent of the Dutch population of around 16 million.

A survey published last week showed that about 40 percent of the gays polled believed that violence and aggression against them was on the rise, while about the same number said they were the victim of homophobic abuse last year, most of it verbal.

It can be done: England v. Germany is just a football match these days, the game sucking up all of the old hatreds and putting them somewhere where they can be got off the chest safely. (Although the Germans really don’t understand the English take on that – their great cultural enemies are the same Dutch mentioned above).