World Cup Fatwa

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is by Mathilde Aarseth, a summer intern at FFI. In case you hadn’t noticed, the soccer World Cup is on. To mark the occasion Minbar al-Tawhid wa’l-Jihad prominently displays a fatwa tackling the issue of the legality of watching the World Cup. Like every religious edict, it is introduced by a question, in this case from a presumed jihadi football fan. The tormented soul is not worried about the game in itself, but rather its sinful surroundings. Is it really OK for a good Muslim to watch lightly dressed women cheering from the grandstands while music is being played over the loudspeakers? No is the answer of Sharia council member Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi. Since the football players are paid according to the number of goals they score, this amounts to a form of gambling, which is forbidden in Islam: “The Prophet (may God bless him

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