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Women football aimed at distracting Sudanese from crises: radical Islamists

October 4, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s hardliner Islamist clerics on Friday attacked the newly formed transitional government, saying it is promoting women football to distract Sudanese from the country’s crises.

Sudan’s sport minister Wala’a Essam al-Boushi greets females players on Monday 30 Sept 2019 (Reuters Photo)

Last Monday Sudan’s transitional government launched women’ football league as the first match between two female clubs was attended by Sovereign Council member Aicha Musa and Sports Minister Wala’a Essam al-Boushi.

The event was welcomed by the Sudanese and women rights groups particularly as they are eager to see changes in the country after 30 years of the repressive laws regulating women’s freedom of dress, and movement under the rule of the former regime.

"The last thing they use to distract the people was the opening this week of the first women’s football league as if our (football men) won trophies and now they pay attention to women teams," said Abdal Hai Youssef an Islamist preacher known for his support to the former regime.

He went further to accuse the minister of youth and sports of blasphemy, saying she belonged to the Republican Party established by Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, a religious thinker executed in January 1985 after being accused of repudiation by the Islamists who supported the regime of Jaafar Neimeri at the time.

"She is a Republican woman who follows that buried apostate and she does not believe in what we believe," he stressed.

Abdel-Hai, a member of the radical Salafist movement, stressed the religion prohibiting women from playing football.

He said that the matter was presented five years ago to the Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) Council about the legality of establishing a league where the stadium is restricted to women and that the dress will be wide in addition to other hedges to cover female players.

"But the fatwa was the prohibition to prevent anything that may lead to committing sins," he said.

The extremist predicator continued his dangerous attack against the Sudanese minister saying accusing her of treason.

"Now we have seen this league celebrated by foreign embassies led by the United States," he said pointing to the presence of foreign diplomats at the inaugural match of the league.

"No wonder the minister is a chick who grew up in exchange programs and made it in the eyes of those Americans," he added.

"They did not come for economic reform, social prosperity nor sanitation came to destroy religion and morals, "he said.

During the last days of his rule, al-Bashir told the army generals that Abdel Hai told his that the religion authorises him to kill the third of Sudanese, to preserve the Islamist regime in Sudan.

Investigations with the former president have shown that this Islamist predicator had received funds from al-Bashir for his religious activities.

This is not the first time Abdel Hai attack the Sudanese revolution or its government. However, the Sudanese authorities did not take any legal measure against him.

Another rigorist religious Mohamed Abdel Karim described the government as secular. He further strongly criticized the launch of a football league for women, during his Friday sermon.

"These secularists who stole the revolution do not care about people’s livelihood as much as they care about spreading corruption.