A Muslim Country Should Host the Olympics

Awarding the 2020 Games to Tokyo and not Turkey highlights an unfair pattern

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Fabrice Coffrini / Reuters

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge leaves the stage after giving an inaugural speech at the opening ceremony of the 125th IOC Session at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6, 2013

Correction appended: Sept. 10, 2013, 3:42 a.m. E.T.

Before we recently learned that the 2020 Summer Olympic Games were officially awarded to Tokyo by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), there were literally hundreds of millions of people around the world who had our fingers crossed and earnestly hoped that Istanbul would finally become the first Muslim-majority country in history to ever host the Summer Olympic Games.

Istanbul made it to the final round of voting against Tokyo after beating Madrid in a tiebreaker round of voting where Istanbul received 49 votes to Madrid’s 45 votes. But in the final round of voting, Tokyo ultimately beat Istanbul with a final vote of 60 to 36.

So Japan will get to host the Olympics for the third time (they also hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and 1972 and 1998 Winter Olympics) while Turkey has never been chosen even once, despite having been in the running five times.

Since nearly 57 out of 193 countries (29.5%) in the U.N. (a.k.a. “the world”) are Muslim-majority nations, the fact that a Muslim nation has never hosted an Olympic Games is truly baffling. “No country with a majority of Muslim population has ever hosted the Olympics … Why? What is missing [in these countries]?” asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey during a July 2012 interview about his quest for his nation to become the first. “Tokyo has hosted three Games. Istanbul has [unsuccessfully] bid to host the Olympics five times but has never been handed the rights. This is not a fair approach.”

Many people think the IOC ultimately chose Tokyo as a “safe” choice for the 2020 Summer Games, even though I am not sure how “safe” it could be in light of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that will continue to have adverse effects on Japan for decades. But according to the New York Times, these “environmental concerns in Japan appeared less urgent than the Syrian war on Turkey’s border, a harsh crackdown against antigovernment protesters recently in Istanbul and Spain’s economic recession and high unemployment.”

One simply cannot argue that Muslim-majority countries do not have the organizational abilities or resources to host. The small Arab Gulf state of Qatar (better known for its capital Doha) was successful in being selected as the host country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, beating out the U.S. According to the Wall Street Journal, the people at FIFA “chose to bring the World Cup to a Muslim nation for the first time, with a desire to make history and the opportunity to partner with the natural-gas fortune of the Qatari royal family.” The tiny emirate has promised to spend at least $4 billion to build nine stadiums, spend $50 billion on infrastructure and renovate three other stadiums and equip all of them with a high-tech, outdoor air-conditioning system to combat summer temperatures that can reach 120ºF (48.9ºC).

Eventually, a Muslim-majority nation like Turkey, which shares commonalities with nearly 30% of countries on earth and represents the collective aspirations of over 1.7 billion people worldwide, will get chosen to host the Olympics. Until that happens, the greater question we should be asking the International Olympic Committee is why it’s taking so long.

An earlier version of this article misstated that Japan hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics. It hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. An earlier version of this article also cited a quote that included inaccurate information.

71 comments
nearnormaltoday
nearnormaltoday

We'll, if we're having trouble with Russia hosting the Olympics because of laws against homosexuality, how are people going to respond to the Olympics being hosted by a country in which homosexuality is a capital crime.

msjadestiny2001
msjadestiny2001

Caveman comments from  a living Relic... Oh.... I mean " Trailer Trash" who just found "fire"! Your lack of knowledge about yourself speaks within your comment! How can fcs251 truly comprehend any form of Religion???!! I sympathize you.........for being YOU!!

fcs251
fcs251

Why should a back-water murdering culture host anything? Want to kill all the athletes that refuse to believe in the mythical religion of Islam and in their murdering pedophilic prophet Mohammad?

chippy1
chippy1

You guys are worst than CNN.com's robo-cop.

Eff U!

chippy1
chippy1

I guess my comments were stopped by robo-censor.

harrypotter0927
harrypotter0927

I agree Turkey should host the Olympic soon. I know Istanbul has bid for the Olympics many times and deserve the right to host it. But again, there are the threats from Syria and the riot inside the country as well. Remember that the IOC members took all these in account and thought it carefully.

I fully believe Turkey would be able to host either the next Olympic or the next next one, though.

shatner
shatner

The spirit of the Olympics goes against basic Muslim values.  That is why Muslims do not want the Olympics to be hosted in their country. 



folotole
folotole

To all the Muslims(Left, right and centre)

Stop playing victim in the name of your religion


And seriously what is "muslim country"...are all the muslim countries same, How would Istanbul hosting Olympics would affect Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are also "muslim countries". London 2012 was not hosted by "Christian world". It was hosted by UK. Stop mixing religion with nation and culture.




confettifoot
confettifoot

Never going to hold the Olympics next to a war zone. Anywhere in the Middle East is next to a war zone, or violent unrest of some sort. The Olympics are a feel-good event. The Middle East is not a feel-good area, whoever's fault that might be.

Fremontca
Fremontca

The Olympics are too big. Let's start with something smaller...like the Miss World contest, and see how that goes first...

AazobaYuzuki
AazobaYuzuki

a muslim nation? LOL so they could coerce non muslim into converting? bomb non muslim? harrassed them etc ...

lornadoone
lornadoone

NO WAY.....they won't allow women to compete so it won't really be the Olympics will it?

pendragon05
pendragon05

Better for Japan to host the Olympics than Turkey. Because the first thing that will happen, is a mass murder against all western nation participants. Think I am lying? Check the calendar.

khadjsal
khadjsal

And the trolls come out of the wood works...

lisaskeller
lisaskeller

If the author is so upset, why didn’t he look at Sheikh Ahmad’s machinations to ensure Tokyo would win? Is Ahmad Al Sabah anti-Muslim too? Why didn't he throw his massive IOC weight behind Istanbul? What is Sheikh Ahmad’s relationship with eg, Qatar? He is aligned with Bach and Bach has heavy business interests in the Middle East. Bach has made statements that can be read as sympathetic to Qatar’s bid, but I do not know for a fact he backs it, it just seems a good bet. So if I were a journalist, I’d be looking at the Bach view on the Qatar bid and Al Sabah’s relationship with Qatar. But I’m not a journalist! It’s not my job!

KEY FACT the author doesn’t get: If Istanbul were to get 2020, then Doha can forget about 2024 (and likely 2028 on top of that!)

The author is completely oblivious to the politics of world sport and the dynamics in play on this issue, and has zero business writing on this subject matter, let alone in TIME magazine!!! It’s embarrassing.

IceToes
IceToes

Turkey would have been about the best choice to start. It's Muslim-majority, but the rest of its system keeps secular values in front. Security/stability aside, there would still have to be cultural issues addressed, especially as more conservative states get serious about bidding. Will the IOC stand up for women? Will they have to wear extreme clothing if they're not Muslim? Would womens' events have to be held without an audience... or outside of the host country? There are literally places where women cannot compete in public by law, or even get professional support in sports. It would be more than a nod to local sensibilities to consider.

jayz678
jayz678


Why can't turkey conduct a 'bomb'astics with the the help of Al qaeda and Taliban,It would be real fun to watch people running a marathon with suicide vests and exploding to pieces at the finish line,may be they could get a few virgins as reward instead of a few medals.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

This article is a classic example of why TIME Magazine is failing as a news source, and why its readers and revenues have plummeted over the last 6 years.

Clearly pro-Muslim biased, the article's author neglects to probe the more pressing reasons as to why the Olympics have not been hosted in a majority-Muslim country.

The Olympics represent the highest ideals of human liberty, freedom, and athleticism.  Muslim countries clearly fail to live up to the Olympic ideals of freedom and liberty in the following instances:  religious toleration, women's rights, moderate politics, advocation of jihad, etc..  Why on Earth would any country want to send its athletes to compete in such a hotbed of 8th century intolerance?  Basic safety is not a guarantee in those areas.

Until Muslim countries can grow up and join the rest of the world in the 21st century, do not expect the Olympic flag to be unfurled over the lands where Allah and his wannabe prophets reign supreme.

Paasban
Paasban

Of course Turkey or any Muslim country should host the Olympics. Islam has nothing to apologize for, sorry. Clearly if Istanbul was the runner up, then Turkey made a viable bid, i.e. accommodations for all kinds of visitors, whether they subscribe to Muslim values or not. But no amount of accommodation will placate bare-faced bigotry. It's bigotry that one can read here in this comment thread, and it's bigotry that denies Muslim countries the chance to host the Olympics. You will never change your views about Islam because you don't want to. Frankly, Muslims don't care.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@shatner  Unless there was a sport for them that included death to non muslims, that they would win the gold for.

folotole
folotole

@Fremontca exactly, would the "muslim countries" allow Alcohol, Pork and skin show during olympics? It would be cruel to see all those hot athletes all covered up ;)

TrumanGolden
TrumanGolden

@AazobaYuzuki wow, a ziokike rash giving us a snippet about what his satanic Judaism is all about, hate genocide and enslavement.

Paasban
Paasban

@lornadoone Riiiight...Of course women aren't allowed. Oh wait, Istanbul beat out every other city but Tokyo. Hmm...could it be because not only were women planned participants, every Muslim country sends women players to each Olympics? That's right, that includes Saudi Arabia and whatever country is your boogeyman of the week. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@khadjsal No trolls muslim, just realist, you muslim ass holes are religious fanatics. You can not be trusted if someone does think like you or believe like you morons you hate them. give it up your violent not the peace loving people you like to project. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@mrbomb13  Muslim countries will never change, muslims are religious brainwashed  fanatics and are so narrow minded they believe their is only one way the Koran way. they are nothing but mental midgets and killers.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@mrbomb13 Well said and to add to the bias the author of this BS is called the Muslim Guy,what a a moron.

jayz678
jayz678

@mrbomb13    This kinda headline may help  get some wealthy arab sheikh to invest in time magazine instead of al jazera and al arabiya,some journos want to work for al jazeera and highlighting muslim news is the first step to get noticed in the arab world.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@Paasban Give it up muslim, No non-muslim would be safe. Accommodations would be a joke and I would not want to be a woman visitor in Muslim world.

TrumanGolden
TrumanGolden

@Openminded1 spoken like a Zionist.  you know gold will go to Jews for the amount the genocides they created around the world.

sabalam123
sabalam123

@Openminded1 Did you know women have more power than men according to the Qur'an? When they get married, they're allowed to do whatever the hell they want with everything their husbands own and their husbands can't say no to them. 

Paasban
Paasban

@Openminded1 As I mentioned, Turkey made a perfectly viable bid, i.e. sufficient security, ample facilities/resources, everything an international event requires. That's how Istanbul even got to the final stage of voting. If Muslim countries really were the way your bigoted mind sees them, you think Istanbul would even make it past the initial stages? Please pay attention next time. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@TrumanGolden @Openminded1  Brainwashed only the religious fanatics and democrats are brainwashed. If you call a 3200 sq foot condo on the 32 floor over looking miami beach   trailer trash then you must be homeless and on a computer at the public library.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sabalam123 @Openminded1 @harrypotter0927  Not hypocritical muslim, just Ironic as it is meant to be moron. Do you think the muslim world is openminded moron? You must be a real dummy, the most close minded religion in the world.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@TrumanGolden @Openminded1  Whats the jew thing dummy i do not like them either. The muslims and jews need to have  a war between them  as far as i am concerned.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sabalam123 @Openminded1  the same wife who disrespects her husband can also be killed with no adverse reaction from the backward muslim govt. Give up muslim the rest of the world knows you guys are nuts.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@TrumanGolden @Openminded1  I am black moron far from a jew as i can be and you must be a mental midget. And how would you know about snuff movies, jews and euro children, is that something a slime ball like you would be in to. seek mental help moron.

TrumanGolden
TrumanGolden

@Openminded1 and you must be a Jew making porn with little Christian children.  admit Jew, when will Jews stop make peso snuff movies with east European children? 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@sabalam123 @Openminded1  Truth hurts, but all you have to do is read and see the news, somewhere and it will mention mass murder somewhere in the world  and Muslims are involved. reality muslim just reality.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@PaasbanListen Muslim fanatic turkeys viable bid as you put it was accepted because it would be wrong on the part of the Olympic organization not to allow Turkey a shot in the interest of fair play. But it was all for show the OC knows most of the world would not show up other then Muslim populated countries. Security would be a joke and an excuse for the MB to have a little fun killing some people. You were fooled like most muslims into thinking they took Turkey serious.  You pay attention and read the rest of these post and see what people think of your fanatical religious beliefs . Muslim moron.