Soccer ‘destroys nations,’ says Egypt preacher
Founding member of Egypt’s Salafi Call Yasser Borhami says soccer distracts people from their religious and worldly duties
At the height of international World Cup fervor, an ultra-conservative Egyptian cleric has said that watching soccer matches was 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, said spending time watching the games was “a disaster that makes me very irate.”
He said it was a distraction from religious and worldly duties, ultimately leading to “the destruction of nations and peoples.”
His religious opinion, or edict, which was posted on the group’s website in a video Saturday, differed sharply with the conventional wisdom that global sports competitions like the World Cup serve to foster camaraderie and understanding among the nations of the world.
Stopping short of forbidding it entirely, Borhami said that there are conditions that would make it “haram,” or unacceptable in Islam: if it distracts you from your religious duties, reveals body parts that some Muslims believe should be covered, or causes Muslims to love and support unbelievers. And, he said, soccer matches usually meet all of those conditions.
His remarks sparked an outcry, at a time when Egyptians are glued to their televisions into the early morning hours because of the time difference with Brazil.
Asked by a presenter who is an ardent soccer fan on the private Egyptian channel CBC about his edict, Borhami back pedaled, but only slightly. “I just said don't waste your time.” He said that his words had been taken out of context by those eager to attack him for political reasons.
Borhami, whose group was once a supporter of fellow Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood that rose to power in Egypt after the 2011 uprising, grew critical of it later, accusing it of dominating political power. Borhami and his group later supported the popular protests against the Brotherhood and the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.
That support has cost the group much of its support among its base, particularly the younger conservative Islamists. Incidentally, his latest edict is unlikely to win back any youth support in a country where soccer is the favorite national sport.
Let’s Dance! Cristiano Ronaldo does the Samba at World CupPortugal football legend Cristiano Ronaldo was caught on video earlier this week dazzling his team-mates with a samba dance during a training session ... Reports
It’s business as usual for Italy, but England is encouragedItaly, World Cup winners in 1982 and 2006, have established a habit of winning games they do not dominate Sports
World Cup fever grips BrazilBrazilians seem to be gripped by the 2014 World Cup fever! Football fans are not missing a chance to watch matches and enjoy the game, their own way. Perspective
Beckenbauer banned by FIFA for failing to cooperateBeckenbauer is provisionally banned for failing to co-operate with a FIFA ethics committee probing the Qatar 2022 World Cup Sports
Dutch sweep to stunning 5-1 win over SpainThe two teams faced off on a sensational World Cup Group B opener on Friday Sports
Jennifer Lopez dances on World Cup stage in Lebanese-designed playsuitThe celebrity diva danced on the World Cup stage alongside rapper Pitbull and Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitt Life