Muslim cleric: Malaysia won't ban Man U jerseys
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Islamic authorities have no plans to issue an edict banning Manchester United jerseys in Malaysia despite recent tabloid reports that Muslims have been urged not to wear the Premier League club's shirts because the emblem features a devil.
Harussani Zakaria, a cleric from northern Perak state, said jerseys with devils, crosses or skulls promoted the "wrong value'' for Muslims but that doesn't mean he wanted them banned.
"We just advise people not to wear this,'' he told The Associated Press on Friday. "Satan is for us our enemy ... It's the wrong value. Satan is always bad.''
His clarification follows domestic and international news reports which claimed that Manchester United jerseys and uniforms of other international teams and clubs had been banned for Muslims in Malaysia. The Manchester United emblem features a red devil holding a trident and the club is sometimes referred to as the Red Devils.
Harussani said other clerics shared his opinion but they didn't plan to pass any edict to ban the attire either. He said many football fans were unaware of the image on the emblem.
Manchester United is among the most widely supported football clubs in Malaysia, where a tabloid report of the ban on the jerseys failed to cause a stir.
Malaysia has long been billed as a moderate Muslim country, though controversial religious edicts, such as a ban on yoga for Muslims, have made headlines recently. Some 60 percent of the country's 28 million people are Muslim.