With tens of thousands of people entering London’s Olympic Park every day, it was entirely predictable that advocates for a host of religions, causes and lifestyles would seize the opportunity to win some of them over.
Antonino Buonamico talks turkey with a Team Islam member in London. (Source: NBC News) Outside London’s Stratford Bus Station, which many fans must walk past on their way to the park, there has been a daily collection of Christians, Muslims and other religious advocates looking to snag new converts, news reporters have noted.
According to NBC News, for example, “Team Islam” is being represented by about a dozen men wearing blue t-shirts with a Team Islam logo or yellow ones asking “Is life just a game?”
“We're trying to make people realize there are many teams in life—Team America, Team GB [Great Britain], France, China—but they are never going to win anything meaningful,” one such proselytizer, Muhammad Alamqir, told NBC News. “If you want something meaningful, you need to be part of Team Islam.”
Alamqir said that nearly every day he has had people “embracing Islam,” adding that the t-shirts were a hit, with people asking to take pictures with him.
Religious activism on the streets of any big city is nothing new, of course. That goes on year ’round, not just during big events like the Olympics. Team Islam might be a relatively new player, but the game of trying to convert people to one’s religious belief or lifestyle is, like the Olympics, a game rooted in antiquity.
Along with the religious zealots—no, check that: Another religious zealot present and garnering media, if not public attention, are vegan activists.An NBC News story profiled one Antonino Buonamico, a follower of the teachings of Supreme Master Ching Hai, discussing with a member of Team Islam whether eating meat was good or bad.
Buonamico, it should be noted, was wearing a turkey suit. “I'm a turkey; I don’t want you to eat me,” he told the reporter.
He said when people see his turkey costume, “They laugh and want pictures. They’re curious [and] I hope they can begin to think about [becoming vegan].”
Supreme Master Ching Hai, by the way, is the spiritual teacher of the Quan Yin Method with an estimated 20,000 followers around the world. She teaches “respect for animals” and her followers pledge not to use leather or other animal products and are opposed to animal testing.