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The Darul uloom cleric’s decree comes almost a month after the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowed women to watch matches in soccer stadiums.

In yet another controversial and conservative move, a senior cleric at the influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom has now issued a religious decree, ruling that Muslim women should not watch men playing soccer with bare knees.

Stating that women watching men play with “bare knees” is violated in the tenets of Islam and is forbidden, Mufti Athar Kasmi, a cleric at Darul Uloom, lashed out at the men who allow their wives to watch the game or even its broadcast. Darul uloom is Asia’s largest Sunni Muslim seminary in the northern town of Deoband.

Speaking during his sermon on Friday, Kashmi said, “Do you have no shame? Do you not fear God? You let her watch these kinds of things.”

“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,” he added.

Darul Uloom, located in Deoband of Uttar Pradesh is more than 150-year-old and the Asia’s largest Sunni Muslim seminary that teaches Sunni Hanafi jurisprudence. It is believed that the rigid interpretation of Islam by the seminary is the ideological foundation for many hard-line groups – including the Taliban.

The Darul Uloom cleric’s decree comes almost a month after the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia allowed women to watch matches in soccer stadiums.

Decrying the decree, a Muslim women’s right activist from Lucknow, said on Tuesday, “It implies that Muslim women should not watch any athletic event, tennis matches or swimming championships. How it can be immoral for a woman to watch men playing sport?”

Days back the seminary also issued a fatwa, prohibiting Muslim women from visiting salons and wearing tight clothing.

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