Thiruvananthapuram: An influential Sunni Muslim body in Kerala on Friday came out against soccer-crazy Muslim youth in the state who have erected huge cutouts of star players in support of their teams participating in World Cup, saying worshipping football celebrities is against Islamic faith and urged them not to wave flags of Portugal, which had made many countries its colonies.
Nasar Faizy Koodathayi, general secretary of the Qutba committee under the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama, also expressed concern over football fans spending too much money on erecting huge cutouts of their favourite soccer stars like Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr of Brazil on the streets.
He also lamented that students were losing interest in studies due to the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.
"It is not right to wave the flag of Portugal, which colonised many countries", the cleric said, adding that it was not right for Indian citizens to respect and wave the flags of other nations over the national flag.
He, however, said the organisation was not against football.
"The game should be seen in a sportsman's spirit. Football is becoming a fever and people are getting addicted to it. This is not a good trend," he said.
According to Koodathayi, football should be promoted only as a game which encourages physical activity.
"Instead of that now football has become a fever and fans are engaged in worshipping football stars. Today people are respecting and waving the flags of other nations over their own," he said.
He said those who are poor are wasting their money in erecting huge cutouts of their favourite football stars and students are not concentrating on their studies.
"Instead of loving our nation, some are engaged in worshipping football stars. There is a limitation to worshipping people when it comes to Islam. Also people are waving Portugal flags...A country which colonised many countries. Students are losing interest in their studies," he said.
Kerala is well-known for the football crazy fans. Huge cutouts of football stars including Messi, Neymar Jr and Ronaldo can be seen across the state.
Fans of Brazil and Argentina religiously follow the football season and celebrate the world cup with fervour in Kerala.
Police have registered numerous cases across the state over fan fights related to the football world cup also.