Now it seems that the Canterbury Crusaders rugby union team is getting pressure to change the name in the wake of the horrible events of last week in Christchurch. At what point will activists stop creating outrage where none had existed to date? Can they cite one incidence of the NZ Muslim community demanding the 9x Super Rugby champions change it for the sheer offence it triggered among them before this tragedy? No. Would rebranding it the Sultans help redress the balance in the eyes of these apparatchiks? Let these poor people grieve without this politically correct nonsense to deal with! Where is the compassion? Where is the respect? Stop politicizing this tragedy to grief signal.
There have been numerous atrocities caused against the Muslim community around the world and even then we never heard the Islamic councils in NZ murmur a word against changing the name of a professional sports club. Probably suggests the majority were already well above such trivialities and probably didn’t see any relevance. All Blacks legend Sonny Bill Williams, who converted to Islam in 2009, played for the Crusaders in 2011. He did not raise any issues against the club based on his learnings. Surely he should have rejected the contract if he thought it would create a problem for his brothers and sisters. He didn’t. Although he did take exception to having Bank of NZ sponsorship displays on his uniform as it conflicted with his religious beliefs on institutions that charge interest. So he has proved he is across his subject matter. Are the activists?
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge, posted on the team website the following.
“Like all New Zealanders, the Crusaders team and organisation are deeply shocked by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. This is bigger than rugby and we’re absolutely heartbroken for our wider community, which is where our thoughts are.
In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community. What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.
In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now. Emotions are very raw and real at the moment. There is the need for this community to wrap our support around those who are most affected by Friday’s events, and that is the immediate focus for the Crusaders team. At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that. That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.
This team and the wider organisation are united with our community in standing against such abhorrent acts as that which occurred on Friday in Christchurch, and in standing in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters.”
CM truly hopes that the Crusaders hold the line and refuse to buy into this political pressure. Good on the CEO made these sensible remarks. The club has never pushed a narrative other than playing rugby. Why then must it being singled out for demonization like this? Are we to believe that there are no Crusaders rugby fans that happen to be Muslim? While the activists are at it perhaps the Newcastle Knights and St George Illawarra Dragons should remove these symbols of Christianity from their logos to show their solidarity across the ditch. How did devout Muslim Hazem El Masri ever play for the Canterbury Bulldogs given that canines are considered impure? Can the social justice warriors answer that?
There is a strong betting that the NZ Muslim community won’t ask for a change in the name of the Crusaders when things settle down if and when it gets to such a conversation. One can be confident it will be so far down the list of priorities. Far more pressing issues to help with the healing process after this senseless act than meddling with a professional sports club.