For Bolingbrook Muslim association, basketball means community
|(Photo by Matt Piechalak)|
For many area Muslims, the cold winter months offer a slight predicament: There’s nowhere to play favorite sports cricket and soccer.
In comes basketball.
In an effort to both encourage participation in the sport of basketball and the local community, the Muslim Association of Bolingbrook hosted a 20-team basketball tournament this past weekend.
While the inaugural event wasn’t open to the public, it had young members of the association out and about the community, with games at Bolingbrook High School and the Downers Grove Park District’s recreation center.
More than 160 Muslim youths participated Friday through Sunday, according to Azmat Ullah, youth coordinator for the Muslim Association of Bolingbrook.
“It was an effort to bring our community of people together, to have our youth interacting with the whole community,” Ullah said, adding that the tournament play garnered some occasional fans at both gyms. “Next year we are intending to open the tournament to the public.”
While cricket and soccer are the most popular sports for area Muslims, according to tournament volunteer Faisal Rashid, basketball is making its way into contention.
“A lot of us who were born and raised in the states grew up in the (Michael) Jordan era,” Rashid said. “So basketball is growing among us. ... Plus, it’s easier to play basketball here in the United States.”
The Muslim Association of Bolingbrook is a religious organization that serves Muslims in Bolingbrook and the surrounding area through education and activities.
Ullah spoke of the importance of the association’s Muslims interacting and being part of the local community.
“If we are living here we have to be a part (of the surrounding Bolingbrook communities),” he said. “We need to share our culture and help each other out.”
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