A Muslim preacher in Melbourne, Takeadean Mohtadi, has issued a warning to fellow believers, cautioning them against supporting the Matildas in the Women's World Cup, as he believes it's "haram" (forbidden) to watch women's sport.
Mohtadi, the imam at the MyCentre mosque in Broadmeadows, stated in a TikTok video that has been viewed 46,000 times:
"The Women’s World Cup — the Matildas — I’m addressing my Muslim brothers. Did we forget that it is haram for us to look at the opposite gender?"
Mohtadi also expressed concern about supporting players who may be part of the LGBTQIA+ community, stating:
"They might be hiding under the Australian flag, but the reality is subhanallah [glory to God] these people that you were supporting… these are people of the alphabets, the majority of them."
He emphasised the importance of reflecting on actions and their impact, even if they might seem insignificant, adding:
"But did you forget that the mountain is made up of small pebbles?"
Bilal Rauf, a spokesman for the Australian National Imams Council, declined to comment specifically on Mohtadi's statements, emphasising that there were other matters of greater importance.
Mohtadi's comments came amid the Matildas' celebrated run in the FIFA Women's World Cup, which drew record TV audiences in Australia.
The team's campaign culminated in a fourth-place finish, the country's best effort to date, and was celebrated by the mainstream press as a transformational moment for women's sport.