If spreading religious intolerance is the goal, a Middle Eastern bank has scored by prompting Real Madrid to alter its world-famous logo so that a small cross does not appear on an officially-licensed credit card.
The Spanish soccer giant unveiled the adjusted logo that will adorn a new credit card issued by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, reported The Algemeiner. The new logo looks exactly like the club's 83-year-old trademark, except for the absence of a tiny Christian cross that normally sits at the top.
The logo change was agreed to by the world’s wealthiest sports team, valued at nearly $3.5 billion, in order to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities as the team and the bank enter a three-year “strategic alliance," according to Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez.
"I know that the local people experience every match in a special way and that our links with the UAE are constantly growing stronger," Perez said recently. "This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.”
Noted Spanish soccer website Marca: “from the looks of things, the club is willing to compromise on aspects of its identity in pursuit of these new fans.”
However, it was not the first time the soccer juggernaut tweaked its crest to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities.In the oil-rich Emirates in 2012, Real Madrid made the same change to smooth the way for a partnership with a UAE resort.
Real Madrid’s most recent decision to cave into Muslim religious intolerance comes at a time of growing concern for Christians in the Middle East, where Islamic State terrorists have massacred and ethnically cleansed ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria, noted The Algemeiner, citing a recent State Department report highlighting several violations of international standards on religious freedom in the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is a part.
“The government prohibits proselytizing and the distribution of non-Islamic religious literature under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment and deportation,” the report observed. “The law prohibits churches from erecting bell towers or displaying crosses on the outside of their premises; however, the government does not always enforce this law, and some churches display crosses on their buildings.”