Posted on January 28, 2009

Hockey Player Says Burnaby Fight Was Religiously Motivated

CBC News, January 26, 2009

Izaiah Buksh is suffering from bruises and will need to undergo a root canal after what he says was a religiously charged fight that broke out at a ball hockey tournament in Burnaby, B.C., on Sunday.

The 20-year-old, who was playing in the B.C. Muslim Sports Association-sponsored event, said he was warned not to play in the tournament because, though he’s a Muslim, he is not a Sunni.

The mood of the game turned tense early on when his team took an early lead. Buksh said the opposing team, made up of Sunni Muslims, told him, “You guys shouldn’t even be here. You’re not Muslim.”

Violence ultimately escalated after a play where the opposing goalie swung his stick at Buksh.

Buksh said he went to tell the referee, and when he turned around, he was attacked by a player.

That’s when the fight broke out.

“Another player on my team came in and then my dad and the coach came in. At the end, it was most of the gym to three or four guys,” Buksh recounted.

He estimates his group was outnumbered about 10 to one.

Buksh’s father, Ahmed, said he feared for his son’s safety.

“It was basically a riot by that time and swarming–one of my sons fell down.”

The B.C. Muslim Sports Association said it will issue sanctions against some players. It contends, though, that the sanctions are purely sports-related and that the incident was not religiously motivated.