Roger’s Rules

Department of sartorial intimidation

The Italian footoball team Inter Milan has a stylish uniform, white jerseys with a bold red cross.

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Well, I think it is stylish. Baris Kaska, a Turkish lawyer, doesn’t like it. Indeed, according to the London Times, Mr. Kaska has initiated legal action against the team, alleging that the “Crusader-style” uniforms are “offensive to Muslim sensibilities.” Yes, really.

Baris Kaska, a lawyer in Izmir who specialises in European law, said that he had lodged a complaint in a local court against Inter Milan, which last month played the Istanbul team Fenerbahce in a Champions League match at the San Siro stadium in Milan. The Inter players wore a new strip – a white shirt with a giant red cross on it – marking the club’s centenary.

Mr Kaska said he was not only seeking damages but was also appealing to Uefa to annul the match, which Inter won 3-0. “That cross only brings one thing to mind – the symbol of the Templar Knights,” he said. “It made me think immediately of the bloody days of the past. While I was watching the game I felt profound grief in my soul.” Mr Kaska told the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that the cross symbolised “Western racist superiority over Islam”.

I used to think these “offensive-to-Muslim-sensibilities” stories were half comical–I saw that they had an edge, but really, I thought, they were local eruptions of politically correct nonsense: a nuisance, no more. I have corrected that opinion. A English school teacher in Sudan allows her students to name a Teddy bear “Muhammad” and she is jailed for “insulting the prophet.” Maclean’s magazine publishes a chapter from Mark Steyn’s best-selling book America Alone and a London lawyer files a “human rights” complaint in Canada against Mr. Steyn and the magazine for fostering “contempt and hatred” of Canadian Muslims. Everyone knows what happened when a Danish newspaper published some satirical cartoons of Muhammad. A very long list of such incidents could be compiled. Now a Turkish lawyer arrogates to himself the power to tell an Italian football team what they can wear. And Turkey wants to join the EU? Think about that.

Muslims have mastered the Western system of litigation and forged a powerful weapon out of it. When will they manage to adopt the Western system of free speech and respect for individual freedom? When will they learn that the luxury being offensive and offended is part of what it means to be a grown up? While we wait for an answer, I suggest that every Western sports team adopt a uniform that features a large cross as a sign of solidarity.