Indian Muslim cleric says women watching soccer un-Islamic, issues fatwa
Darul Uloom Deoband, the Islamic seminary representing the orthodox Wahabi Sunni Islam has declared the watching of football match by women un-Islamic.
Mufti Athar Kasmi a cleric at Darul Uloom, Asia's largest Sunni Muslim seminary in the northern town of Deoband said that watching men "playing with bare knees" violated the tenets of Islam and was forbidden for women.
The cleric also lashed out at the men who allow their wives to watch football even on television.
"Do you have no shame? Do you not fear God? You let her watch these kinds of things," he said in his sermon Friday.
Kasmi's decree comes even as the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowed women in to watch matches in soccer stadiums earlier this month.
"Why do women need to watch these football matches? What they will gain by looking at footballer's thighs. Their attention will be on that only and they will even miss the scores," Kasmi said.
About 13 percent of India's 1.3 billion people are Muslim and the majority of them are Sunni but the country's secular constitution ensures that decrees such as Kasmi's have no legal force.
Recently the seminary issued a fatwa asking Muslim women not to visit beauty salons or wear tight clothing.