In a Friday sermon delivered at the Lala Pasha Mosque in Damascus on June 22, Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Malla said that the World Cup was part of a plot, outlined in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to distract the Arabs and the Muslims from the defiling of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the bloodshed in Gaza. According to Al-Malla, "the Europeans have taken upon themselves to distract the Arabs," while the U.S. and China never qualified because their responsibility lies elsewhere – in the selling of weapons to the Muslims. The sermon was posted on the mosque's YouTube channel.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Malla: "We find ourselves in the obsession and madness of the world of soccer. I was thinking what title to give this sermon, and I decided to call it: 'No Voice Is Louder than the Voice of Soccer and the World Cup.' This is the truth these days, to be honest.
"I would like to shed light on some matters. People's lives have come to a standstill. If there is a game at three o'clock, at two o'clock, nobody is left at work and the roads are totally deserted. 'What's happened?' you ask. 'There must be a match,' they tell you. 'Who's playing who?' you ask. An examination will show that these countries are sworn enemies of Islam – countries that conspire against the Arabs and the Muslims day and night.
"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion... When the Jewish organization was established, one of the articles [of The Protocols] article 29, I think – stated: 'We shall distract the Arabs using arts and sports.' Indeed, they have done just that, and that's how we got to where we are today.
"We watch the games for hours on end. We are interested in the players. We focus on defense. People develop theories: 'Why wasn't this or that player sent in?' 'What kind of coach is this?' People develop theories upon theories, while the Al-Aqsa Mosque is being defiled and Gaza is being hit, but nobody is paying attention. Dear brothers, most of the bloodshed that befell the Arabs and the Muslims occurred during the World Cup tournaments. In 2006 and 2010, people were watching the matches while Israel was bombing Gaza.
"For three days I've been contemplating how come the U.S. does not excel at soccer. Have you ever heard of the U.S. qualifying for the round of 16 or the quarter-finals, or winning the World Cup? Either the U.S. or China? Those countries have a different specialty. It seems that the countries of the world are divided into different specialties. The Europeans have taken upon themselves to distract the Arabs, whereas [the U.S. and China] have another responsibility. They have all reached an agreement among themselves. That is why you will never see Israel, the U.S., or China [at the World Cup]. China has never qualified, and neither has the U.S. Well, maybe just once, but they were eliminated after two days. Nor do they spend money on players, although they could buy up both the Real Madrid and Barcelona clubs. The price would be inconsequential to them. Why don't they do that? Ask yourselves. The reason is that their responsibility lies elsewhere: the selling of weapons to the Arabs."