Pak cricket team and Islam

Interesting article on religion and the Pak cricket team. (Credit to the writer for writing openly and repeatedly on the issue. Its good to see discussion on the issue)

The Pak team might have been united by Islam, but if they continue to look to religion (like they seem to be doing) to unite them, the baggage that comes with religion is likely to rear its ugly head soon. Just look at the religious clashes in Iraq — muslims killing muslims. The bad part about religion is that it tends to divide as much if not more than unite.

Pak has enough muslim diversity to start tensions. Its only a matter of time before there are religious groups formed within the team, the board, the selectors (if they haven’t already). The Sunnis vs Shias vs Ismailis vs Bohras vs ….

Just as the younger players of today’s Pak team are products of an increasingly Islamic Pak so will the officials of tomorrow, as the Inzys and Saeed Anwars graduate to non-playing roles. Those who don’t neccessarily believe in this trend are likely to tow the party line so to speak — possible examples being Shoaib Akthar and Yousuf Youhana.

At a min the Pak board must instruct it players not to publicly display their religious fervor. Its fine to kiss the ground and do whatever when you score a century or pick up a wicket, but group prayers on the ground is a needless display of religion especially when the Kanerias of Pak are still on the team.

Can you imagine an extensive pooja replete with coconut breaking, a fire, priest, bhajans, prasad and what not before a match. Will the Pak officials allow this when India is playing in Pak?

What next? Shoaib Akthar racing into to bowl at Sachin Tendulkar screaming “Allah-o-Akbar” and Sachin in turn smashing it over the fence followed by a chant of “Jai Sriram”.

The Pak board must intervene immediately (subtly to avoid a backlash) before this gets out of hand. If immediate steps are not taken there could be needless tensions especially when featuring teams like India and Pak.

Thankfully, the Indian team has managed to stay away from such issues and the country as a whole deserves credit for this. Its a fine example of India’s secular intent, at least for the most part.

C’mon. Let cricket and religion remain separate. Please.

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