Yasser Borhami
Yasser Borhami, founder and head of the Salafi Dawah.Getty Images

An Egyptian scholar has issued a fatwa against the 2014 Fifa World Cup as it could distract Muslims from praying during Ramadan.

Yasser Borhami, preacher and vice-president of the Salafi Dawah religious association, said the World Cup is haram (Arab for forbidden).

"The World Cup matches distract Muslims from performing their [religious] duties," Borhami wrote on the association's website, according to Egypt Independent.

"They include forbidden things that could break the fast in Ramadan as well as others forbidden in Islam like intolerance and wasting time.

"Football lovers like disbelievers of foreign teams' players and others, which is rejected."

Scholar Mohamed Raafat Othman, however, disagreed with Borhami's view saying that Muslims are not forbidden from watching any programmes, as long as they do not include religiously forbidden topics.

The Saudi Gazzette said Borhami's fatwa drew criticism on Twitter with users calling on scholars to stop issuing unrealistic fatwas.

In a report in the Guardian, Borhami said his words were taken out of context during an interview broadcast on the private Egyptian television channel CBC.

"I just said, don't waste your time," he said.

Not the first controversial fatwa

Borhami is no stranger to controversy after last April issuing a fatwa saying that a man should leave his wife to rapists in case of grave danger to his life.

According to Al-Arabiya website, the cleric said: "In this case he [husband] is forced [to surrender her] and not obliged [to defend her]."

In a similar fatwa, Borhami said the man should actually see the "penetration" of his wife by another man in order to claim that his wife has committed adultery, which will allow him to kill her.

He also called on Muslims to refrain from congratulating Copts (native Egyptian Christians) during Easter, describing them as disbelievers and Easter as the "Christians' most unfaithful feast."

According to the Cairo Post, Coptic and Islamic figures – along with the head of the Egyptian Human Rights Union Naguib Gibrae – filed a police report against Borhami accusing him of contempt of religion and incitement to sectarian violence.

"Borhami crossed all the lines through his statements and fatwas," Gibrael said.