Mufti Athar Kasmi, from India’s Darul Uloom Islamic School, said that women who watch men “playing with bare knees”violate Islamic doctrine.
“Why do women need to watch these football matches? What [will they] gain by looking at footballer’s thighs? Their attention will be on that only and they will even miss the scores,” Kasmi said, as cited by the Times of India.
The cleric also chided men who allow their wives to watch televised football matches. “Do you have no shame? Do you not fear God? You let her watch these kinds of things,” he said in a recent sermon.
Darul Uloom, located in Uttar Pradesh state, is a 150-year-old seminary that is home to the Deobandi Islamic movement. It teaches a rigid interpretation of Sunni Hanafi Islamic law. Ironically, the decree comes just weeks after the Sunni Muslim Kingdom of Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women attending football matches.
The Sunni revivalist movement is largely centered in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Recently, the seminary issued a fatwa asking Muslim women not to visit beauty salons or wear tight clothing.
In 2016, government school inspectors discovered that a Darul Uloom Islamic High School in the UK had been distributing leaflets warning against listening to music, singing and dancing, describing them as “acts of the Devil.”