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 United States 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.