According to unconfirmed reports online, Bayern Munich officials are planning on building a mosque within Allianz Arena to accommodate the team's Muslim players as well as fans next season. The construction is thought to be the idea of winger Franck Ribéry, who converted to Islam after playing for current Turkish Süper Lig champions Galatasaray in 2005.
The original report by cultural blog OnIslam.net has yet to be confirmed by larger, more notable, news agencies - but if true continues a trend recently started by English clubs like Newcastle United, who did the same thing for their players earlier in the year.
The story gained momentum on Twitter and on various blogs across the Internet throughout the past few days, which is understandable seeing as though this type of story goes a long way in normalizing Islam and Muslims in a time when misconceptions and prejudices run rampant.
Bayern Munich Build Mosque for Muslims europenews.dk/en/node/67587— EuropeNews_english (@EuropeNews_engl) May 15, 2013
To see a sporting institution as big and as influential as FC Bayern Munich be this accommodating and inclusive to their players and fans can go a long way to influence the thoughts of people who may not have held the growing Muslim minority in Europe in the highest of regards.
With growing concern from FIFA and individual club management about general racism in and around the league, this sort of leadership by example can do much more than any sort of PSA campaign can.
Even though the construction is still a rumor at best, here’s hoping it is true. It would be nice to see a positive story make the runs so soon after the wildfire that was the Ribéry/Boateng Beer Fiasco (which Philip Quinn already shown it to have been an overblown falsehood).