England cricketers Jofra Archer, Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood on Tuesday criticised author Taslima Nasreen for her religion-based tweet about Moeen Ali.
The Bangladesh-born author said: “If Moeen Ali were not stuck with cricket, he would have gone to Syria to join ISIS.” Nasreen initially defended her stand and said her tweet was sarcastic. But after severe backlash, she deleted the tweet.
The statement was purportedly in response to reports that Ali had asked the Chennai Super Kings, his Indian Premier League franchise, to remove the sponsor logo of an alcohol company from his team jersey. Ali is known to not sport logos of alcohol brands for his national team due to his religious beliefs.
The Chennai Super Kings later confirmed to The Indian Express that Ali did not ask for any logo removal.
The swift response by Ali’s colleagues to Nasreen’s communal comment was amplified by many Twitter users in India, who also praised the English cricketers for taking a stand.
Many of them compared the situation to the one in Indian cricket earlier this year. In February, former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer resigned from the position of head coach of the Uttarakhand cricket team after a dispute with the state association. Jaffer tendered his resignation following allegations that he tried to force religion-based selections in the Uttarakhand team, which he has denied.
Only a few former Indian players came out to support him.
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Munir Ali, Moeen Ali’s father, said he was “hurt and shocked” to read Nasreen’s “vile remark”.
“I would ask her to pick a dictionary and see the meaning of sarcasm,” Munir Ali told The Indian Express. “It’s not what she thinks it is. It’s not spewing vile poisonous stuff against someone you don’t even know and then retracting it by saying it was sarcasm. Of all the people to pick on for her agenda, I can’t believe she has chosen my son. Everyone in the cricketing world knows the person he is.”
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