By June 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Iran Bans World Cup

Fan wearing Iraqi flag on her head arrives to watch their Gulf Cup Tournament soccer match against Yemen at Khalifa Sports City in Isa Town

Soccer, or football – as most of the world prefers – is incredibly popular throughout the Muslim world. While the Republic of Iran may be different from many of its non-Shiite neighbors in many respects, when it comes to a love of the sport, they are walking in lockstep.

But as strange as it may sound to those who have not lived under the purportedly “Islamic Republic”, the Vilyat-i-Faqih government has in fact banned broadcasts of the FIFA World Cup.

In an attempt to explain their bizarre decision, the Iranian State has said that the prohibition is for the purposes of “crowd control.”

Iranian police say that the ban extends to cafes and restaurants, which may not air World Cup games in any form (television or Internet). This even extends to Iran’s own matches, according to the BBC’s citation of several local Iranian media outlets.

This decision came just weeks after Iran banned women specifically from watching the games if there were men in the same public venues.

Oddly enough, Iranian TV will still air the games, but Iranian police warned the Cafe Owners Union in Tehran that private home viewing of the event would be the absolute only option given to Iranians. The World Cup is, essentially verboten for public, Iranian consumption.

In the Nigerian city of Adamawa, similar prohibitions were handed down, though there police said that the ban was to deter “bombings”

“Our action is not to stop Nigerians … watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives,” said Brigadier General Nicholas Rogers, last Wednesday.

This comes just a week after members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram were fingered as the suspects in a car bombing that killed 18 people who were watching a televised match in a viewing center in Adamawa.

In Iran, no such attacks have ever occurred. The prohibitions in the “Islamic Republic” seem more aimed at deterring fraternizing between the sexes.

Posted in: Islamic World

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