Can soccer ease Muslim-gay tension?

          

A Dutch multicultural group is organizing a soccer tournament between gays and Muslims, hoping to counter what a study published Thursday said was a rising tide of fear among gays.

A nationwide survey by the Police Research Academy said most gays questioned feel unsafe and reported experiencing verbal attacks in the last year.

Of the 776 homosexuals who participated, 80 percent said they believed their safety was threatened at some time during the year, said academy director Frits Vlek.

Only 3 percent said they were physically assaulted, Vlek said, but about 40 percent claimed they had been insulted or verbally abused.

Youths from Moroccan and Turkish backgrounds often were blamed for the incidents, Vlek said, since homosexuality is not widely accepted in many Muslim cultures.

Muslim-gay tension is the theme of the soccer tournament organized by the Institute of Multicultural Development, to be held next week.

An organizer of the group, Suzanne Ijsselmuiden, said she hoped the games will “help ease these tensions so that people can openly talk about homosexuality.”

Gay Muslims can take their choice of teams, she said.

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AP, via the Chicago Sun-Times, USA
Mar. 17, 2006
www.suntimes.com
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday March 17, 2006.
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