Cii News & Newspapers | 05 April 2013 – 24 Jumadal Ula 1434

Seven Newcastle United first team stars who are observant Muslims have been using various rooms at the ground to worship before games, the UK Daily Mirror reported Thursday.

The English Premier League club reportedly provided the area for Muslim players to worship before matches.

An insider told the paper the club believed it currently had more Muslims in their first team squad than any other Premier League team and hence deemed it important to look after them.

“They have been using various rooms at the ground to worship before games. Now they will get a proper prayer room.”

Seven first team stars at Newcastle– Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Moussa Sissoko and Mehdi Abeid – are devout followers of Islam.

Former striker Demba Ba, now with Chelsea, is said to have often lead team-mates in Salaah before games.

The insider said prayer had now become an ­important part of the build up to big games at Newcastle.

“Demba was the most devout of all the players. He would regularly pray before big games, and be joined by team-mates. It helped build a bond between them.”

Former Newcastle United Football Star Demba Ba with Sheikh Sudais in Makkah

According to the club, the prayer room can be used by players of all faiths.

Last October, media reports highlighted a possible boycott of the new Newcastle jersey by its Muslim players due to the club’s deal with loan company Wonga.

Under Islamic law, Muslims must not benefit from either lending money or receiving money from another person – meaning that interest is prohibited. Interest is not paid on Islamic bank accounts or added to mortgages.

Commenting on the controversy, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, told The Independent: ‘There are two aspects to this. We have the rulings of the religious law and we have the individual’s choice and decision on how they want to follow or not follow that rule.

‘The idea is to protect the vulnerable and the needy from exploitation by the rich and powerful. 

‘When they are lending and are charging large amounts of interest, it means the poor will have short-term benefit from the loan but long-term difficulty in paying it back because the rate of interest is not something they can keep up with. The Islamic system is based on a non-interest-based system of transaction.’

‘Assuming all four are on the pitch at the same time, if you have seven out of 11 (with advertising on their shirts) you have sufficient coverage. It is not asking too much, I believe.”


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