Thiruvananthapuram: Football and sports fans have reacted angrily to a call by Muslim clerics, belonging to the dominant Sunni faction, against un-Islamic devotion and fanfare over FIFA world cup currently underway in Qatar.
The Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, which proclaims itself to be the spiritual authority of local Muslims, also disapproved of fans carrying flags of football power nations and putting up giant cut-outs of their heroes in what is seen as one-upmanship among fan clubs.
Fans, particularly in the Muslim-dominated Malabar region have been in a competitive frenzy, putting up cut-outs of Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. The shock defeat of Argentina at the hands of minions Saudi Arabia has prompted fanfare for Saudi goal-scorers.
Samastha said youth are getting addicted to football, with the result that they are not even turning up for regular prayers at the mosques.
It also questioned the propriety of flags of ‘anti-Islamic’ countries such as Portugal being carried by the fans of Ronaldo, whose show in the match against Ghana won him an unmatched record of scoring goals in five World Cup finals.
The clerics also referred to the Portuguese invasion of India and said they had plundered our resources.
Footfall fans rejected the call by the organisation, which prides itself for its conservative credentials, and said it was much getter to get addicted to football than other intoxicants, which are becoming a serious threat to the society.
M K Muneer, leader of Indian Union Muslim League, rejected the call and said there was nothing un-Islamic about football, which was a unifying force all over the world.
Education Minister V Sivankutty said every person is entitled to worship their favourites just like Samastha has the right to speak against football addiction. It is up to the individual to decide what he or she wants to do, he added.