Cricket club alleges discrimination over Muslim festival

Gloucester AIW teamImage copyright Gloucester AIW
Image caption Club secretary Ahmed Goga said the team was shocked this could happen in 2019

A cricket club claims it has been discriminated against for not playing a match during a religious festival.

Gloucester AIW said it has been docked 22 points, and its opponents awarded a further 20 points as a concession, for refusing to play last Saturday.

The club, which is made up mainly of Muslim cricketers, said the date clashed with the Day of Arafat – the day before Eid al-Adha.

Gloucestershire County Cricket League said it had acted “within its rules”.

The club said the league has a specific clause in its constitution – introduced this season – requiring matches to be rearranged where there is a risk of games coinciding with Eid.

Club secretary Ahmed Goga said he informed the league in January about the clash, but “they ignored it”.

“The day of Arafat is one of the most important days in Islam which comes a day before Eid al-Adha.

“They discriminated against our religious obligations.”

He said the league’s “level of ignorance about Eid” was “shocking”.

Image copyright GCC League Handbook

The league’s handbook states that if Eid falls on a Saturday a match can be rescheduled before the start of the season, but it makes no mention of the Day of Arafat.

A spokesman for the league said it had acted “within its rules” and had “no further comment”.

Mr Goga said the club offered its opponents, Redmarley, “a variety of alternative dates to reschedule but none were accepted”.

A spokesman for Redmarley said it was “impossible” to play on any day other than a Saturday.

The Muslim festival Eid al-Adha – which means “feast of the sacrifice” – commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son on the command of God. Ibrahim was eventually given a lamb to sacrifice instead.

It is the second Islamic festival of the year, and follows Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

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