A pious punch at kick craze

Islamic clerics ban World Cup broadcast

Kenyan soccer fans are up in arms after a group of Islamic clerics in the country’s north banned the public broadcast of soccer matches just weeks before this summer’s World Cup.

Clerics in the frontier town of Mandera announced two weeks ago that they were cracking down on public movie halls in the troubled northern region. The clerics said the halls — which broadcast Western films, as well as live sporting events — were corrupting the area’s youth. For many Kenyans, who can’t afford to have satellite TV in their homes, the movie halls are the only way to watch live soccer matches.

The clerics insisted that the ban was not targeted at sports fans in the soccer-mad nation.

“If anyone wants to go watch the World Cup at his house or her house, then we have no problem,” said Sheikh Khalif Mohammed. “But public — no.”

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