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KANSAS CITY – The National Football League is being lauded for its decision to penalize Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah for prostrating in the wrong direction after attaining a touchdown.
In a blowout game against the New England Patriots which saw the Chiefs win 41-14, Abdullah received a 15-yard penalty from the referees after they noticed his prostration wasn’t even facing Mecca.
“I’m okay with the praying and whatever,” said referee Gil Swanson, “but you have to make sure you’re facing the Kabaah when you do. Husain was facing San Francisco.”
It isn’t the first time a referee in professional sports went after Muslim professional athletes for praying incorrectly. In Major League Baseball, Umpires penalized Minnesota Twins catcher and Muslim convert Anthony Fernandez for making wudu (ritual purification) in Gatorade. The National Basketball Association also penalized Kareem Shareef for drinking water while he was supposed to be fasting in Ramadan.
“The NFL will not tolerate prayers done in the wrongful manner,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, “any prayers done without sincerity and pure intentions could result in suspensions.”
The NFL Commissioner is taking a step further by looking at the salaries of Muslim players to make sure they are paying their Zakaat (charity) on time.