Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, used his most recent weekly sermon to stray from his usual discussion points into some sports commentary—sort of. But this was no ESPN broadcast, and Qaradawi is no Chris Berman.
Using the recent announcement by FIFA that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup as a launching pad for his sermon, Qaradawi first expressed how overjoyed he was to hear the news, before managing to find a way back to his usual rant against the United States and Zionists. Most of all, Qaradawi was delighted that in securing the soccer championship, the small Gulf nation had beaten out the United States.
While claiming not to be a fan of soccer, Qaradawi rallied behind the World Cup cause because he deemed any American defeat to be positive news for Muslims. He told listeners to Friday's prayers how he "prayed to Allah to make America lose and make Qatar win." And once the outcome was publically announced, the sheikh celebrated this "slap on the face of the United States."
Qaradawi claimed he was particularly driven to the cause following disparaging comments toward Qatar made by President Obama in the wake of the selection committee's decision. Obama's choice to call Qatar's selection the "wrong decision" showed America's "bad policy" and meddling, Qaradawi said.
To the Doha-based Brotherhood cleric, Obama's disappointment was another sign of American greed. Obama's comment "indicates that America wants to monopolize everything…They want to monopolize politics, economy, weapons, soccer, sports, and everything, and they do want to leave us anything." Continuing, he stated: "They disdain us and they want to monopolize everything. Therefore, if we win anything, they say this is bad and wrong."
This is not the first time that the soccer pitch has served as a political battlefield. In fact, there has been a long history of politics and sport colliding. A recent documentary also highlights one recent case in which controversial Israeli political issues played out through the nation's competitive soccer league.