The country of Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world and during a soccer game on Sunday, players from Bali United FC defied political correctness and used a goal victory celebration to show their solidarity in the true spirit of yoga, which literally means “to unite.”
In a game against Borneo FC, players Ngurah Nanak (Hindu), Yabes Roni (Christian), and Miftahul Hamdi (Muslim) made their victory gestures spontaneously in the form of the way each religion expresses devotion or prayer.
A photo taken by photographer Miftahuddin Halim, which has been making its rounds on social media, was shared on the Bali United FC Facebook Page when the three team mates made their symbolic postures of unity after Roni scored a second goal for his team.
The photo was captioned in Bahasa Indonesia which translates as:
“Because different beliefs will not prevent us from achieving the same goals. Bali United Rejoice!”
Bali United FC won the game against Borneo FC, scoring 3-0.
Bali United: An Example To The World
Halim’s photo serves as an important reminder to the world how many faiths can be united towards a common goal. In Indonesia, in particular, the players’ powerful celebratory poses may be a silent political statement as well. Tensions between ethnic Chinese and Indonesians as well as different faiths have been on the rise.
In May, the former governor of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (also known by his Hakka Chinese nickname “Ahok”), was sentenced to two in prison for charges of blasphemy. He was the city’s first non-Muslim governor in 50 years.
According to a report in BBC, FIFA’s rules currently do not permit players to wear any article of clothing, underwear, or accessories that promote their personal political or religious affiliations. However, acts which promote diversity and anti-discrimination, such as the one displayed by the three multi-religious Bali United players, are encouraged.
The photo shows how even in “the beautiful game” of soccer, the principles of yoga may be practiced no matter what your religious, cultural, or ethnic background.