They call the prayer rooms ‘inclusive,’ in that anyone can use them, but everyone knows they will be used exclusively by Muslims.
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou defends the AFL’s decision last week to install such rooms at all AFL venues. “It’s again a demonstration of our inclusiveness,” as he announced the move in response to the demand from a Richmond player, the one and only Muslim in the league, Bachar Houli.
“Inclusive” seems a curious description. The AFL is actually providing an exclusive service to followers of a minority faith, although that’s not how Demetriou spins it. He says the rooms will be available for all denominations, which must be a relief to Presbyterians who’ve been missing out for more than 100 years on game-time worship opportunities.According to Houli, Islamic fans are fed-up with the lack of worship sites when they go to the football. “I speak for the Muslim community,” Houli told SBS. “I get complaints (that) there’s nowhere to pray other than the carpark. It can be quite disturbing (to pray) with people walking through to the game.”