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Football | Africa

Malian Islamists ban football



Islamic forces controlling north of Mali announced on Wednesday the beginning of Sharia in the region and asked all citizens to strictly and publicly observe the law, which entails the prohibition of football.

Malians living in the city of Tombouctou will wake up on Friday and say goodbye to their lovely sport. Football pitches are now out of bounds and offenders will be severely dealt with, the warlords said.

Worse, football fans can no longer watch the game on television because it is also forbidden by the Islamic law.

Besides football, chatting with somebody of the opposite sex is also considered a crime. Women have been asked to only step outside their homes with faces and legs completely covered while the men must keep their beards.

Mali was plunged into an unprecedented political and military crisis after the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) split the country into north and south in April.

The group controls the arid north but it has been infiltrated by Islamic forces from the al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, who now govern part of the vast region.

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