Forget Ozil, Here Are 5 Sports Stars You Didn’t Know Are Observing Ramadan
On-loan Arsenal midfielder is one of the most popular Muslim sports stars in the world. The footballer regularly talks about his faith and has never shied away from speaking for Muslims. In fact, it is believed he fell out of favour at the Emirates after calling out the Chinese government for its treatment of Uighur Muslims.
And since this is Ramadan, Ozil is fasting. But he is not the only Muslim sports star observing Ramadan. Here are five stars you may not know are fasting.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is probably a name you are not expecting to find on this list. But here he is.
For the first time, Irving publicly spoke about his faith after the Nets defeated the Celtics over the weekend with him in the thick of things. He missed the game played on April 13 due to “personal reason”. That personal reason turned out to be Ramadan.
Irving said after the Celtics game:
I am taking part in Ramadan with a lot of my Muslim brothers and sisters. And it’s been an adjustment. That’s really what I can say. It’s just being committed to my service to God, Allah, and then continuing on with whatever I’m guided with.
I’m just happy to be part of my community and doing the right things. So, fasting is definitely part of it — if you know anything about the Muslim community. But yeah, just really blessed and grateful to be taking part in this.”
Many did not know that the Leceister City defender Wesley Fofana was fasting until Premier League game between the Foxes and Crystal Palace played on Monday night was paused briefly for him to break his fast.
The young French defender has been playing for Leicester since Ramadan started without much hassles.
Fofana tweeted after the game:
Just wanted to thank the @premierleague as well as @CPFC, @vguaita13all the Foxes for allowing me to break my fast tonight in the middle of the game That’s what makes football wonderful.
This name might come as a surprise to you or not. Enes was “born Muslim” in Switzerland to a Muslim-faith family originally from Turkey, where the majority of people are Muslim. However, as difficult as it is for some NBA players to fast during Ramadan, in an interview, he confirms he is dedicated to fasting during the Ramadan period. He says:
Well, of course, you have daily prayers, which you have to do. And the NBA schedule is really difficult with lots of workouts, meetings, traveling, watching game video. So it’s tough, but possible. The same with fasting. I fast while I play, but I just make sure that I live a healthy lifestyle at the same time.
Benjamin Mendy is a proof that names are no indications of religious beliefs. He is a great defender and he has contributed a lot to Manchester City and France. In an interview, he spoke about following Bernardo Silva, his Monaco teammate, to the Etihad Stadium after meeting chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak.
He talked about the ambition of the club. But, also, the owner Sheikh Mansour (bin Zayed Al-Nahyan) is Muslim and that was one very big aspect for me to come to Manchester City because I am Muslim too. That was important.
Edin Džeko is a Bosnian professional footballer who plays as a striker in Serie A club Roma and captains the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. Edin Dzeko has practised Islam since he was born.
An absolute superstar in his home country of Bosnia, Dzeko is also multilingual and capable of speaking 4 languages – Bosnian, Czech, German and English fluently. He is also involved in plenty of charitable ventures and even became his country’s first UNICEF ambassador.
Often mistaken as a Christian, he is a devout Muslim, who practise the doctrines and observes Ramadan fasting.