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Algeria turns to imams in fight to counter violence in sports stadiums

Published: Updated:

Algerian authorities are now turning toward local imams for guidance in order to to help confront violence in the stadiums by giving sermons that spread awareness among sports fans about the menace of being involved in riots.

Algeria’s Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Mohammed Issa, announced on Tuesday that the ministry is ready to send the imams to the stadiums to encourage good conduct speeches after football stadiums turned into battlefields in recent weeks due to football hooligans.

He underlined that his ministry also intends to take initiatives in coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to appease this phenomenon by inviting the imams to devote part of their speeches to educate citizens about the dangers of violence and urge them to unite in good sportsmanship. This will be applied especially in mosques located near football stadiums, when football games are being played and tension are high.

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For his part, the Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Hattab said Tuesday in statements to the local media during an inspection visit to sports facilities in the capital that “imams and religious figures will play a major role in extinguishing the fire of sedition so that everything will return to normal,” calling on everyone to contribute to put an end to the violence phenomenon that plagues football.

This move comes amidst the riots in football stadiums in Algeria recently, especially during the game held in the city of Constantine last weekend, which witnessed bloody violence between the supporters of JS Kabylie and MC Alger which resulted in one death and several injuries.