Can you believe that watching a World Cup match could cost you your life? This is not a joke, and as appalling as it might seem there are some people who impose the penalty of death upon those who dare to watch a World Cup match at this time in the twenty first century. Before we look at those who impose this penalty, let us first imagine that anybody who dares to seek the lawful pleasure of sitting in front of a television set to watch a football match received this punishment, how many people would die? In my opinion this would be in the millions, or to be more precise, in the hundreds of millions. A large number of people would die if the enemies of joy managed to control the world for it is these enemies of joy who kill the innocent, and make life gloomy and monotonous. These enemies of joy aim to place themselves above everybody else, appointing themselves judge, jury, and executioner in the name of religion, when in fact religion condemns what they do.
A few days ago news agencies around the world reported that a small group of Somali people had gathered in secret near the capital Mogadishu to watch a World Cup football match, and that two of those caught watching this match were put to death while the rest were imprisoned! An extremist group who call themselves “Hizb al-Islam” [the party of Islam] were responsible for this, and so this group which has ignored the violent Somali pirates has turned its weapons against those who watch the World Cup. Despite this, we have not heard any of the voices that preach Islam 24-hours a day on satellite television channels come out and condemn the act of these criminals who claim to be acting in the name of Islam, when in reality Islam condemns their actions. The strange media silence surrounding this terrible crime only strengthens the climate of insanity.
True Islamic scholars who care about the image of Islam are required, at this critical stage more than any time in the past, to firmly stand up against those who distort the image of Islam in the eyes of the world and who propagate a wrong message about our great religion and noble Prophet (pbuh) rather than dedicating themselves to peripheral issues. Our preachers must rearrange their priorities surrounding religious discourse, and I think that there is nothing more important than improving the image of our great faith which has been tarnished by the actions of criminals and extremists. Hizb al-Islam in Somalia is only one small link in a long chain of actions that aim to impose backward ideology upon us, whether this is in Somalia, the Pakistani tribal region, Afghanistan, or Iraq.
Rather than being preoccupied with marginal issues, let us direct our efforts to a much worthier cause!