Egyptian Cleric: Watching Football ‘Destroys Nations’

An ultra-conservative Egyptian cleric has said that watching football matches is unacceptable in Islam because it is a distraction and “destroys nations”.

Yasser Borhami, a founding member of the main Salafi movement in Egypt, the Salafi Call, sparked an outcry when he said spending time watching the World Cup games in Brazil was “a disaster that makes me very irate”.

He claimed that it was a distraction from religious and worldly duties, ultimately leading to “the destruction of nations and peoples”.

His edict, which was posted on the group’s website in a video on Saturday, stopped short of forbidding football watching entirely, but Borhami said there were conditions that would make it haram (unacceptable) in Islam: if it is a distraction from religious duties, reveals body parts that some Muslims believe should be covered or causes Muslims to love and support unbelievers. He said football matches usually met all of those conditions.

Asked by a presenter who is an ardent football fan on the private Egyptian television channel CBC about his edict, Borhami said his words had been taken out of context for political reasons. “I just said, don’t waste your time,” he said.

Borhami, whose group was once a supporter of fellow Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood that rose to power in Egypt after the 2011 uprising, later accused it of dominating political power. Borhami and his group then supported the popular protests against the Brotherhood and the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Source : theguardian