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PCB is investigating religious comments made by batsman Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan. -AP Photo
PCB is investigating religious comments made by batsman Shehzad to Sri Lanka player Tillakaratne Dilshan. -AP Photo

Anyone who follows cricket in Pakistan would remember the disastrous tour of Australia in 2009-2010. Under the captaincy of Mohammed Yousuf, Pakistan lost all three Test matches, all five one-day internationals and the only T20 match of that tour.

Many reasons were cited behind that calamitous tour, including a ball tampering incident involving Shahid Afridi; but one which was not discussed openly and was only whispered for a long time afterward was that batsman Mohammad Yousuf – a former Christian who had converted to Islam in 2005 – was more interested in Tableegh (religious preaching) than in playing cricket.

  M. Yousuf at Lord
M. Yousuf at Lord's in London, 2010. - AP Photo

Later on, a number of tales came up. One of these described Yousuf as having spent the better part of his time running after Australian cricketers to preach to them the virtues of embracing Islam and how it had improved the quality of his life and how it would ensure them a place in heaven.

His efforts obviously did not pay off, for none of the Aussie cricketers converted, as far as we know. But his tableeghi stints did cost Pakistan the series – it was the most shameful showing of Pakistani cricket team in recent times – and his position as the captain of the national team and his career as a cricketer ended soon after. I am not saying that the two were directly related, but Yousuf’s well-built career died after that.

Also read: Preaching games

The latest entrant into the preacher zone is Ahmed Shehzad.

During the last one day international on Pakistan's latest tour of Sri Lanka, Shehzad was recorded on camera telling Tillakaratne Dilshan, after he scored a 50 and won the match for his team, that “if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.”

Apparently Dilshan must have said something along the lines of “Thanks, but no thanks,” to which he later added, “Then be ready for the fire.” Presumably hellfire.

For starters, that was rude, uncalled for and totally inappropriate. It was not like Dilshan and Shehzad were indulging in a heart to heart chat over drinks about existentialist angst and wondering if there is a heaven or hell.

They were walking back to the dressing room after putting in a day in the cricket ground. You cannot just ambush people in the middle of their business and frighten them with eternal hellfire.

Dilshan obviously was more mature and magnanimous. He neither responded to Shehzad after that, nor did he file a formal complaint against the cricketer.

The tragedy of it all is that neither Shehzad, nor his team manager, Moin Khan seem to be showing any remorse.

Khan, who has once been arrested for alleged spousal assault and battery, tried to downplay the enormity of this and said that it was just “general banter and nothing more and players do banter with each other from time and time.”

Shehzad was no better and believed to have said that it was a personal chat and there was nothing more to it.

However, in a surprising show of responsible behaviour, PCB has set up a three-member committee to probe the incident and had already summoned Shehzad to their headquarters in Lahore.

Explore: Pakistan’s crazy cricket controversies

The incident may not seem that attention worthy, but it was very uncouth and impolite.

Had that conversation, no matter how intrusive and insensitive it was, taken place in private without cameras and Shehzad not wearing Pakistani colors, it would have been a personal matter.

But he chose to do that on the cricket field, in front of cameras rolling while representing Team Pakistan. He should be disciplined for his religious fervour and his desire to be on a 'mission' while he is getting paid to do something else – that is, playing cricket to the best of his ability.

I do wonder what Shehzad was thinking, if he was thinking at all, when he approached Dilshan with his message.

Was he planning to secure a sports ministry in a TTP or ISIS-lead government in the future? If that ever comes to fruition, Shehzad must know that they would, in all likelihood, ban sports of all kinds.

Was he trying to secure a corner plot in Jannat by converting a non-Muslim brother and show him the righteous path?

Honestly, after this incident, the only person in need of enlightenment seems to be Shehzad, not Dilshan, who let the matter go quietly and with dignity.

Take a look: ‘Team needs to keep a balance between religion and cricket’

To counter such incidents from happening in future, PCB must prepare a starter kit which has to list acceptable and objectionable conduct and it should detail that randomly telling people that their faith, or lack thereof, will make them burn in hell fires of eternity is never a good opener for polite conversation.

Secondly, they must limit access of influencers like Tariq Jameel and co. who constantly barrage or guilt young cricketers with additional responsibility of tableegh when they cannot even do what they are paid to do with a modicum of responsibility – play cricket.

Thirdly, they must set an example with Shehzad and send out a message that preaching should be left to the likes of Tariq Jameel, Saeed Anwar and, dare I say, Aamir Liaquat. Cricketers should concentrate on playing well for their country, especially when they are on tours as ambassadors of the country and behaviour such as that will not help them in winning people over.

It is about time Muslims in general, and cricketers in particular let go of the notion that we, as Muslims, are the chosen ones and it is our duty to bring others to the righteous path.


Author Image

Tazeen Javed has lived most of her life in Karachi; she now lives elsewhere and misses Karachi. She has worked as a journalist, teacher, salesperson, activist, tour guide, election observer, fruit vendor, copy writer and television producer in the past.

She has wizened up since then and now only works for a living. She tweets at @tazeen


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (150) Closed



being human Sep 05, 2014 04:02pm

mr. shehzad should introspect if the country in which he resides is under hellfire from taliban,drone strikes or not ?

Akhlesh Sep 05, 2014 04:02pm

Very well said. Insulting someone else's religion ("be ready for the fire") does not belong to a sports arena. What if someone in a team visiting Pakistan requested a Pakistani Muslim player to convert? I think that the spectators would go on a rampage. But wait! I am not worried. Teams do not visit Pakistan these days.

being human Sep 05, 2014 04:02pm

great article by an open minded rational writer

Rao Sep 05, 2014 04:04pm

Till now no cricket team wants to come to Pakistan for security reasons....soon all countries will ban Pakistan team from coming to their countries, because now there is a chance that there may be a brainwashed tableegi in the cricket team which can be a security concern for the host nation.

Ramu Sep 05, 2014 04:14pm

Just imagine for a sec what would have been a response if Dilshan had asked Shehzad to convert his religion from Muslim to Buddhism and told him " then be ready for fire " on Shehzad's refusal.

Harmony Sep 05, 2014 04:16pm

If their focus is to become a preacher than the job they are meant to do ie play and concentrate on cricket only then they shouldn't be in the team. Here the Board is entirely at fault for letting this happen and encouraging Inzamam culture.

Zain Sheikh Sep 05, 2014 04:17pm

A lot of people will raise the question why this incident is being brought up in the first place if there has been no formal complaint.

The simple reason is that this act tells how intolerant and narrow minded we have become over the years.

I'd love to see Aziz Mian perform 'Sharabi' in Lahore again, without the fear of a lynching mob standing outside.

I feel that while the world is moving forward, we as Pakistanis keep backtracking for some odd reason. Sad sight really.

Very well written indeed.

anwar siddique Sep 05, 2014 04:18pm

If we Muslims do not respect the beliefs of others how can we expect others to respect ours?

Feroz Sep 05, 2014 04:23pm

This violates the ICC code of conduct and if ever Dilshan or SLC were to lodge a complaint with ICC, Shehzad could be banned for a few years. Ahmed Shehzad would be better off praying for his country and its future under serious threat from those on whose behalf he is preaching.

Jami Sep 05, 2014 04:25pm

Well written Tazeen. Not sure if many people know that Dilshan is converted from Muslim when grew older and he is great character himself. I don't know why Shazad said these words but Mr. Sheryaar need to resolve in good administrative way. Do keep us informed.

Hassaan Sep 05, 2014 04:25pm

While I agree that "you cannot ambush people in the middle of their business and frighten them with eternal hellfire", allegating that Yousuf's "tableeghi stints cost Pakistan the series" is another appalling example of shameless pseudo-liberalism lately prevalent in Pakistani society. If you had the decency to investigate that series, our main culprit was cheater Kamran Akmal, who kept playing for Pakistan even after abysmal performances. Lets blame Maulana Tariq Jamil and Junaid Jamshaid, next time Kami fluffs another one, shall we?

abdullha Sep 05, 2014 04:26pm

Salam to Ms Tazeen, I would say 'Well done to Ahmed Sehzad' to doing what he has done! What is the harm done? Dilshan doesn't care, Sri Lankan board has no wish yet angelic PCB takes the responsibility to discipline him & our beloved and non-religious media persons make it a point how wrong are his actions. I would suggest Ahmed Shezad to make some effort & preach the Pakistani media as I believe they are furthest away from Islam.

I am sure my comments will not be published but my humble suggestion to you Ms Tazeen is to study & ponder over the basics of Islam - I doubt if you have ever read the Quran with translation nor studied any of the books of Hadith & I am 100% sure you have never read a book on the life of the Prophet Muhamed - pls give it a try, you will be amazed once you know the truth, as I did as a journalist like yourself..

Abdur Razzaq Sep 05, 2014 04:28pm

This article is written strictly against preaching islam It's true that ahmed shazad would have chosen a better place to preach islam bt i condemn the statement made in this article about Muhammed yousaf just becoz a Series is lost under his captaincy Even then is this game more important than ISLAM???

Mohsin Sep 05, 2014 04:28pm

I agree and disagree with the author. What Shezad did was completely uncalled for and he should be punished, he should also apologize to Dilshan publicly. However, this has nothing to do with Muslims not having the responsibility of spreading the message in a reasonable and appropriate way. Please don't use this incident to preach your own liberal agendas.

jawaid akhtar Sep 05, 2014 04:29pm

Well written.Sounds like an amazing writer and person. We need to keep god out of the cricket field.

zahid Sep 05, 2014 04:29pm

If Shahzad is so concerned about his 'aakhrat' then he should not waste time in a cricket like 'dunyavi kaam'.

Pakistani Sep 05, 2014 04:31pm

nice and bold article, fully agree with thew writer.

Daaman Sep 05, 2014 04:33pm

I wonder what kind of response we Pakistanis would have had, if he had said something about Malinga's hair. Grow up people, there is nothing to see here.

ali Sep 05, 2014 04:36pm

Shehzad was wrong in his actions, but there's always a polite way to make a wrong right - exactly what Dilshan did by not responding any further.

Umair Sep 05, 2014 04:37pm

Completely agree to you. This sort of irrational behaviour is not tolerable, specially on field.

Its purely business on field.

Kranti Sep 05, 2014 04:38pm

Article is good but for the radicals ears they can't hear your words. They always think that they are the chosen ones.

A Pakistani Sep 05, 2014 04:40pm

Excellent article

I wish that all these people who are berating others should focus on improving Pakistan which seems to be getting rotten to the core as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

This thinking (

Kranti Sep 05, 2014 04:41pm

@anwar siddique Sad to tell you, but the fact is nobody is hearing Muslims words these days.

Muhammad Imran Sep 05, 2014 04:52pm

In my opinion, definitely Ahmed Shehzad did not act properly. He should shown respect to Dilshan. However, I disagree with author that Muhammad Yousaf career ended because of preaching to Australians and losing series. It was nothing related to his religious activity. I remember he broke world records of highest number of centuries and most runs in a calender year around that time. Author exaggerated that and also related to Ahmed Shehzad, it is a bit unfair. Ahmed Shehzad needs to improve his behavior. But, making it such a big issue is unjust, specially when no one complaint.

Pervez Rasool Sep 05, 2014 04:57pm

@Abdur Razzaq

It depends on who you are asking that question. To a non-muslim obviously cricket is more important than Islam and they don't Islam brought into cricket.

JAMIL A SATTI Sep 05, 2014 05:00pm

@Rao We will become champion of Dharnas and dirty politics against the nation and future of Pakistan.

MTB Sep 05, 2014 05:01pm

Agree with Mohsin as well.

MTB Sep 05, 2014 05:03pm

@A Pakistani "many people in Pakistan think that just stating the

anees zaidvi Sep 05, 2014 05:07pm

@ the writer - How many people were preaching when a much much stronger team was drubbed 3-0 in 1999 under Wasim Akram's captaincy and then another one again in 2004?

G.Nabi Sep 05, 2014 05:16pm

Give these pencil pushers of press an insignificant story next day they will come back to you with 2 pages column. If Sri Lankan cricket management has not complained , then why this hoopla ?

Iqbal Bhai Sep 05, 2014 05:24pm

PCB needs some introspection as well. They don't give enough training and awareness to the players. Then things like this and the betting/spot fixing happens. Once PCB imparts ample training, then players will also act responsibly.

Farooq Jawed Sep 05, 2014 05:29pm

He is quoted as saying "if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven." Well, this questionable mindset of this young man gives an insight into a twisted ideology that is spreading at an alarming rate among our youth. This is an ideology that puts greater emphasis on salvation in the next world over civility and tolerance in this world. Irony is that PCB might be better off by being intolerant of these insensitive and narrow minded views of potential "Role Model" and discipline this young man before this ideology spreads like EBOLA, with similar and devastating results.

mimi sur Sep 05, 2014 05:29pm

This is the country where its founder's religion and sect come under question , your religion is mentioned in passport ,and parliament can pass a law to brand someone as infidel . So this preaching by these so-called players is not surprising , because this country was established on the foundations of religion .

Imtiaz Hydari Sep 05, 2014 05:41pm

A very well written article. The issue however is larger than Shahzad's stupidity. Lack of mental discipline is a problem that Pakistan cricket has faced since inception. Under a strong leader such as Kardar or Imran Khan the focus was channelled to the specific task of performing as a cricketer but under weak or indifferent leaders, our stars are interested in everything other than their only role of performing on the field. PCB needs to invest in strengthening mental discipline of our players. Teach them to practice yoga and meditation as essential perpetration for any series. Mental toughness and discipline combined with calm nerves is the quality that will make our so called stars perform optimally.

Ashraf Sep 05, 2014 05:42pm

I believe rather than rejecting the idea of Tableegh we must encourage people to learn the way we should approach the Non Muslims and emphasis on character building as well. I have lived here in the west for the most part of my life and have never had an issue communicating with people of other faiths. We have no right to criticise anyone's faith but we can share views ina nice way. It is ok if none of the Australian cricketers converted as long as the message was conveyed in a respectful manner.

Allah has ordained for us to pass the message nicely and the rest is in the hands of Allah to guide someone or otherwise.

Thanks.

AdHawk Sep 05, 2014 05:42pm

In the latest news, apparently, religious discussion is prohibited in the central contract. You're in trouble now, buddy.

Usman Ksana Sep 05, 2014 05:43pm

i think when we call for freedom of speech,freedom of having whatever views,freedom of chat,freedom of movement then this act of Shahzad must be tolerated and taken within the ambit of above said freedoms...by aggressively reacting to this very conservation between Shahzad and Dilshan we can only serve extremism and bigotry...as we do not like to be dictated by others,we should not attempt to dictate others

Sal Sep 05, 2014 05:47pm

so according to the author the dial performance in Aus was due to the tableegh by Yousef? So how about all the other dismal performances? is that also because of tableegh? How about Misbah's dismal performance in recent tour of sri lanka? is that also because he was busy in tableegh?

Ayaz Sep 05, 2014 05:47pm

Not Shehzad but camera man should have avoided taking their personal conversation on microphone.

Nabeel S Sep 05, 2014 05:49pm

This is utter disgrace.... we Pakistanis leave no stone unturned when it comes to giving pakistan a bad name... be it Pakistanis living abroad or Pakistanis visiting foriegn land..... the fact of the matter is we are most stupid ppl on earth who are told that we are a great country... I appologize to Lankans for this Idiot.

amir khan Sep 05, 2014 06:03pm

@Abdur Razzaq then he should preach and quit cricket

Raj Patel Sep 05, 2014 06:07pm

I see more of preaching Islam from Pak cricket team down the hill if PCB don't curb now. And it will turn in to ban of entire Pak team on somebody's complaint in future just like trio cheating case. Players were not reprimand / punished on first incident after due inquiry report by a judge and Pakistan has seen the trio indulged in cheating cause embarrassment to Pakistan country as a whole.

Amr Sep 05, 2014 06:08pm

"It is about time Muslims in general, and cricketers in particular let go of the notion that we, as Muslims, are the chosen ones and it is our duty to bring others to the righteous path." How can you truly believe in a faith and NOT have this "notion"??

Khan Sep 05, 2014 06:15pm

We have change our narrow minded views and become secular minder .we need to accept all relegions not only one relegion.

Rahul Sep 05, 2014 06:17pm

@abdullha ! Alas you are marching towards your doom. Miss Tazeen is an educated and smart person who knows a lot better then you. You want to live a life in caves than that should be your choice but please dont drag all the others who have liberated themselves from the shackles of senseless and corrupted interpretation of the religion.

khan Sep 05, 2014 07:06pm

the spread of Islam in Indonesia the largest Muslim country was not done by preachers but it was the traders's character and their conduct with the people that they became Muslim actions speak louder than the words.

Saad Sep 05, 2014 07:22pm

Very well said!

Malik Ajmal Khan Sep 05, 2014 08:45pm

Very well said. Exceptional-ism has caused many problems in the past to many. This matter needs to address seriously before it gets out of control one more time.

Ahmad Raza Sep 05, 2014 08:52pm

Great article - the last sentence really brings it together. Self righteousness breeds intolerance and is perhaps the root cause of a lot of problems in the Pakistani society. This sort of conduct is totally uncalled for. PCB should have a strict code of conduct training program and enforce it even if it means suspension or termination of the accused player regardless of how talented they are.

Moiz Omar Sep 05, 2014 09:59pm

Why do our cricketers have to do such things? Can't they just play cricket?

ARUN Sep 06, 2014 12:33am

@G.Nabi i don't understand your myopic view as if you are pretending or really playin a dummy....don't you see the cricketers who have a gr8 fan following in the already ever polarized/intolerant South-Asian society, sends out a deep sense of bigotry infesting the society...come-on u shouldn't be that unsophisticated to guess that....!!

Jawad Sep 06, 2014 12:41am

@abdullha Thanks

Jawad Sep 06, 2014 12:47am

@jawaid akhtar Can you keep God out of cricket? Have you ever seen people praying during ODIs especially against India. Everybody's hands are up for duuaa and people / mumbling / reciting Suraas? God is every where my friend. Just FYI --- I'm neutral about the incident till full truth/ investigation is done. After all you do have to listen to his side of the story too. Heck we don't even know if these two are friends or not , may be it's some ongoing discussion between them or may be not.

Rachit Sep 06, 2014 01:19am

The only thing for all the Pakistanis who are saying that this can be allowed, and should, in fact, be encouraged: Imagine an Indian Hindu or a Sri Lankan Buddhist saying something on those lines to a Pakistani player in Pakistan. Can the Pakistani State assure a safe passage out to such a player?

Monarchian Sep 06, 2014 04:17am

Well perhaps u should keep records straight bout the australian series and keep Adridi's confessions bout our players in consideration as well and it wasnt yousuf who was the reason of our loss, entire team was a let down just our bowling was an exception. So, please before bashing anyone, I urge you to acquire knowledge of relevant subject first.

Thanks

PI Sep 06, 2014 05:28am

What's the big deal? , The poor guy was having a conversation with his fellow cricketer - maybe Dilshan is his mate. Why be so hypocritical of Shehzad? If Dilshan is bothered with Shehzad

saleem Sep 06, 2014 06:16am

religion has always been a big business and tool for the intelligent and powerful

shaikh Sep 06, 2014 07:58am

if this continues we should name our Team as Mullah 11, and ask the team players to keep beard just like Yousef otherwise you know "fire".

Razaullah Sep 06, 2014 09:50am

@abdullha same thinking :)

parthi Sep 06, 2014 10:23am

I am surprised that such a well written condemnation of a very uncivilized act by a Pakistani cricketer emerged from Pakistan.

Tota Ram Verma Sep 06, 2014 10:37am

@Nabeel S , Well said man , very sensible commnet.

Abdullah Sep 06, 2014 10:52am

@Farooq Jawed

Your observation is even better than this article. It is not just about Shehzad, tomorrow it could be even Shoaib Akhter. The society is being engulfed everyday with this and these are the people who are the role models for the future generation. He must be disciplined and educated.

Indian Sep 06, 2014 10:58am

My question to all people saying "It was a personal discussion and Shahzad did nothing wrong." Would you feel the same way if Dilshan was preaching Buddhism to Shahzad, and asking Shahzad to convert to Buddhism???

ranga Sep 06, 2014 11:02am

@Abdur Razzaq Sir. Islam might be important to your personally. So please do not assume every one is interested in it. For most people religion is a personal issue. For some of us, religion is the last thing in our mind.

Ajay Ladkani Sep 06, 2014 11:04am

A well written piece by Tazeen Javed. Shehzad is only 22 and he should focus on cricket. He must be punished by PCB for offending Dilshan. Ofcourse, there was no formal complaint from Sri Lanka, but this should not be an excuse to avoid the issue.

ranga Sep 06, 2014 11:08am

I think such things happen when one is frustrated. They start thinking irrationally. Its just better to give a warning and let him go.

Ajay Ladkani Sep 06, 2014 11:10am

@Amr No, in front of God nobody is special and everyone is equal. All the religions are good and inspire human beings to help others.Change your mindset.

Ali Vaqar Awan Sep 06, 2014 11:14am

Ahmad Shehzad needs leave cricket if he is so much interested in preaching. Religion is the personal matter of the human being.If he loves cricket then he should concentrate on improving his game.

rehan Sep 06, 2014 11:21am

Why is the Secular Brigade at Dawn so worried about evangelists ? The idea seems to be that being an evangelist is a full time job and that if a person has another occupation ( such as being a Cricketer) then he can not and should not preach religion. Since Dawn preaches about "Secularism" and "tolerance" so much, it would be great if it would set an example by showing some tolerance itself and stop spreading confusion about people who don't follow it's Secularist Brigade.

Observer Sep 06, 2014 11:26am

A private talk is just a private talk! period.

Javed Sep 06, 2014 11:29am

The guy did what he has been taught and grew up with. Do you exoect a different behaviour from any of them?

Spiritual Sep 06, 2014 11:31am

Religion is personal matter. It is a beautiful thing there should not be any vulgar public show of one's religion. Every parent thinks his/her child is beautiful, so if someone praises own child profusely and persistently then it will not go down well with that parent. Likewise every practitioner of different religion quite obviously thinks his/her religion is superior. So, trying to boast about one's religion is totally futile, rude and insensitive. Keep it private.

Salim Alvi Sep 06, 2014 11:36am

Boudhism spread to corners of Asia without asking the natives to give up their attire, language, ancestral history, culture and language. Today those native cultures are almost super power in terms of science and technology, economy and even militarily. India is getting there. Dilshan sees Boudhist Japan, and China as Jannat in this Duniya. The peace in those lands is conducive for meditation, which prepares one for next Duniya. Why should he take an Arabic name and adopt Bedouin attire, when he sees what is going on there or in Af-Pak area?

Javed Sep 06, 2014 11:50am

@abdullha I'm happy to see that there are such sane voices in Pakistan and more so in the pakistani Muslim community.

To Abdullah- assuming that you have read all course work in Islam and you are still able to think logically - don't you think the world around you doesn't really seem to be going by the plan in the books. The countries and people who are conservative and religious and bigoted seem to be in the dumps. Look at Pakistan. With all the religiosity dripping off every walk of life, Pakistan is one of the most good forsaken places on earth.

Naveed Sep 06, 2014 12:08pm

A very well written article i.e. the way wrtier has expressed herself. My comments are not an approval of what Shahzad did or the way he did it because actually I cant gather from a news report as to WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. A few questions, just to have a better understanding. Isnt it beocming a fashion in certain circles to start berating people as soon as some ref is made about their having had a religious conversation ? Do the writer or any of the people who have commented have any details about the actual discussion that took place and if it was actually offending to Dilshan or not (as he and sri lanakan board have not made any complaint in fact they have commented that they are interested in this discussion)? Or are we blowing it out of proportions just for fun or to be called open minded ?

khan Sep 06, 2014 12:26pm

@abdullha well said. Allah bless u.

yosuf Sep 06, 2014 01:04pm

Play cricket Shezard . No need to preach and save one from hellfire. Try to correct our own kind like those crazy suicide bombers . Too much religion preached by mad preachers created all these divisions and we Muslims pay for it. Don't preach herein Srilanka .We have our own issues

SL Sep 06, 2014 01:46pm

First of all ,Play Ground shall not be a religious spreading arena .this fellow shall learn basic ethic first. Dilshan, or the majority Sri Lankans do not care about other religions and they respect what other believe .I can imagine what would happen if Dilshan asked Sazhad to convert to Buddhism ?

Mani Sep 06, 2014 01:53pm

Talha Sep 06, 2014 03:02pm

If it is ok to call somebody to drink a carbonated drink on the field as happens in advertisements what is wrong with calling someone to believe in God? I agree it may have been better to look for a more opportune moment, just as the author suggests, over drinks (hopefully non alcoholic:).

hindustani Sep 06, 2014 03:10pm

@Rachit that is the reason why no country wants to play in Pakistan. Remember it was nearly a generation ago when Ian Botham backed out of a tour of Pakistan and is also on record as having mentioned that Pakistan was a country where he would like to send his mother in law to.

hindustani Sep 06, 2014 03:23pm

If the PCB does not act fast, The day will not be far when the Pakistani team will consist, not of their best cricketeers, but of Mullahs and Preachers....mind u only of the Taliban, ISIS and Wahabi like variety. If they cannot bowl the opposing batsman out, they will blow the poor fellow or probably behead him.The same will probably go for the opposing bowlers against whom they cannot bat, leaving probably, only the umpires who will be safe, but hey,only if they too are from the same school of thought.

fahim anwar Sep 06, 2014 04:21pm

"if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven"

This explains the pakistani drama of an on field sajda' only for half the team to be caught fixing matches.

Anish Sep 06, 2014 04:21pm

Pakistanis have discredited and insulted islam the most in last 30-40 years...weirdos

rs Sep 06, 2014 04:39pm

People like Shehzad will send some scare into other teams.

Insaaf ka worker Sep 06, 2014 04:41pm

I work in Downtown Chicago, USA. And if the prayer time comes i do go make wadu and stand for prayers. Everyone know that I am muslim and thats my obligation. Once i am done there are few who come and tell me about Jesus and try to say whatever in there heart (totally fine OK-no offense). If ahmed shezad tells dilshan about muslim and being a muslim ( i do not think ) that is anything wrong with that. No complains filed both are mature enough to understand. As a muslim we forget why are we here on this earth!!!

Ali Khawaja Sep 06, 2014 04:44pm

we need to be little bit aware of the context of ahmed shehzad's comment. dilshan is born in a muslim family; his whole family is practicing muslim. you can have much frank conversation about these things with a muslim vs a non-muslim. and given the relationship between two people, they can have all sort of discussion and remarks about each other's religions.

rs Sep 06, 2014 04:45pm

@abdullha You are misssing the jpoint. Already people are scared of coming to Pakistan to play cricket. If such incidents happen again then countries will think twice playing against Pakistan even outside.What PCB has done is right.

Seth Myers Sep 06, 2014 04:47pm

@Anish

Pakistanis are not the only people who have given Islam a bad name, you should look at Middle East and all the fighting/killing going on there.

Apparently Islam has been the most misunderstood religion for more than 13 centuries now, even though it "means" peace, its follower seem to indulge in maximum amount of violence.

Opinion Sep 06, 2014 04:59pm

Very well written article on a very good subject. thank you!

Guru Sep 06, 2014 05:31pm

It's bad enough that no one wants to play in Pakistan any more and it's cricket team, which gave so many players who can be termed as greats, is now a pale shadow of it's former self. But a little more of this kind of behavior from it's players and it's going to wear out it's welcome in other countries too.

Mukesh Sep 06, 2014 05:48pm

Poor Shehzad, I am 100% sure that he must have said it jokingly, but now he cannot accept this fearing much bigger backlash.. he is really caught between devil & deep sea... :)

Adnan Sep 06, 2014 05:56pm

"Secondly, they must limit access of influencers like Tariq Jameel and co. who constantly barrage or guilt young cricketers with additional responsibility of tableegh when they cannot even do what they are paid to do with a modicum of responsibility

Kris Arjun Sep 06, 2014 06:05pm

@Mohsin. So the liberals shouldn't preach their agenda, but the Muslims can ? Masha allah. Irony.

Deen Sep 06, 2014 06:09pm

Hw many people here know that dilshan was born Muslim and converted to Buddhism as a young adult because of the advantages of belonging to a majority community in Sri Lanka?

Z khan Sep 06, 2014 06:10pm

@Abdur Razzaq the is important to people who pay to watch it, to people who pay to advertise, and to the country as a whole. If you are comparing Islam and cricket then you trying to compare apples and oranges. One is a game the other a religion.

As Muslims we are suppose to know the difference. That is why prayers are only 5 times a day, reduced from 60.

Yawar Sep 06, 2014 06:10pm

Would he have done the same if Pakistan had won?

Z khan Sep 06, 2014 06:14pm

Suddenly we are concerned with dragging more people into the fold, than with being better Muslims ourselves.

wahab Sep 06, 2014 06:29pm

normal conversation between the two......dilshan never objected.....i think the writer is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill...

J Arshed Sep 06, 2014 07:00pm

@Hassaan We shall learn to call a spade a spade. Pakistan needs freedom of speech, tolerance of divergent views and above all unity of purpose for improving the lot of all Pakistanis than resorting to fundamentalism, tribalism and regionalism. Hats off to Tazeen and Dawn for such courageous article. Viva Dawn, Viva Tazeen, Viva Pakistan.

Anser Sep 06, 2014 07:03pm

Why such a hue and cry...its better than sledging.

Anup Sep 06, 2014 07:16pm

This incident clearly shows how narrow minded the cricketer has become. PCB should take a strict action so that no one dares to behave the same in future.

Insaan Sep 06, 2014 07:49pm

Being an Indian, I must salute your liberal and honest views. Clearly, there is a part of Pakistani media which is more of a dove than what I recall from childhood while a part of Indian media which has become hawkish (especially on Mumbai attacks) and also looking down upon culturally closest neighbours. May the democracy, libreal views and economy all grow in Pakistan, without margenalizing the hawks off their legitimate rights.

Weera Sep 06, 2014 07:52pm

Great article indeed. Problem with Pakistani cricket is that they are infiltrated by religious people as it seems and players are rather radicalized. I am fond of Misbah Ul Haq because he is the only player who never refers to Allah after victory in interviews. Religion is a personal thing and anyone has the right to switch religions as they wish. Get an example from Australia and South Africa. Are they dominating cricket due to religiousness? High time we all become secular where religion is a personal matter.

Iqbal Abbas Sep 06, 2014 07:57pm

Worst part is, what he preached about Islam is also wrong. No where does Islam say that a muslim will go to heaven, no what he or she does.

Manzar Sep 06, 2014 08:38pm

If ever you want to impress some one, do so with your actions or just keep the mouth closed

Manzar Sep 06, 2014 08:41pm

The impact of Yousafs, Inzimams and Anwers was really bad. How can they claim to be tableeghi when they do not do justice to what they were being paid for? is it what a good Muslim should do? I heard during team ride to stadiums Danish kaneria had to bear with Tableeghi lectures. That's just sad. I think he should be banned for a few months. I pity him because he might have been told that this is the way to captaincy.

Secular cricket Sep 06, 2014 08:49pm

religion(Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism) has nothing to do with business of cricket.

Al Jabber Sep 06, 2014 09:30pm

@Anser

Grow up please.

Salman Hasan Sep 06, 2014 09:41pm

I think Ahmed Shahzad should just focus on his performance. If his semi mediocre performance continues, I foresee in the future he may not see heaven but definitely sidelines. He is yet to cement his place in this team.

Altaf Ullah Farooq Sep 06, 2014 09:54pm

Many teams lost terribly to Australia when they were at their peak. I wonder why they (non muslim teams) lost? Were they also preaching??

Extremism on both sides is harming us. We must keep a balanced view.

Mustafa Sep 06, 2014 10:09pm

It is no different than an Indian player having a bindi on his forehead or an Australian with a cross for a pendant. It is nothing but anti-muslim bigotry.

ahmed Sep 06, 2014 10:09pm

It is by fair conduct and good behavior as is required of good human & a good Muslim off and on the field that our national players can make a better impact on their fellow players of other countries.

JD-muz. Sep 06, 2014 10:12pm

@Rehan Sahib. Sir I think "Secularism" is the most misunderstood word by consevetives and Fundo's. Secular means that ALL religions are acceptedj and practiced freely. No religion is Given priority over others, and you are not discriminated against because of your belief. Now suppose like Pakistan or other Islamic republics, the west or in east I Japan etc: become Christian or Buddhist republics, and emulating us start to burn and destroy Mosques and kill Muslims. How would you like that? Here in USA where I live, in my mohalla there is a huge mosque, A huge church, and a Gurdwaras. Further there are many big Hindu temples. THAT my friend is Secularism. Not the cruel acts we do to minorities I Pakistan.

Akhmed Sep 06, 2014 10:18pm

@Salim Alvi In Buddhism, achievement of salvation ("nirvana") is solely depended on a person, not on his ability to convert others. Hence, it resonates with educated and modern people.

FMAC Sep 06, 2014 10:52pm

Secular ppl give us a break...

ARUN Sep 06, 2014 11:08pm

@Usman Ksana you say that was a private chat btween the players....OK agreed!! but when it comes to being a celebrity/sportstar in any nation he or she is constantly under the scanner 24*7 for each and every activity done by him/her......the reason for such scrutiny is that celebs/sportstar are the torch bearers of the society or ROLE-MODELS who are emulated not only from head to toe but also the idealogy they believe.....so think hard about my comment and then analyze why SHEHZAD is named as the travelling evangelist...!!!

Sarath Sep 06, 2014 11:09pm

A very bold article indeed,the first thing I was looking for is for the author!You are a Brave heart!

Asad Sep 06, 2014 11:13pm

Creating a controversy out of nothing. This was a personal chat between two players who seem to know each other well. This would have been a serious issue and required strict disciplinary action had Mr. Dilshan complained about it. I wonder had this been so much in the news if these two guys were discussing which bar to hit in the evening to let out steam after a long hard day on the field.

Abdr Sep 07, 2014 01:30am

"if you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven."

Mr. Shehzad should also be punished for spreading wrong thing about Islam. His comments whatever you do in your life you will go straight to heaven clearly shows his ignorance about Islam. Hard to believe that any Muslim support this statement.

Sonny Afridi Sep 07, 2014 02:04am

It was bad taste on his part. He should go public and clarify his position or at least apologize. It's unprofessional behaviour.

Either way - go Green Shirts.

wasim Sep 07, 2014 02:10am

@Hassaan well said brother

Moby Sep 07, 2014 04:09am

@abdullha of course you would support spouting religion everywhere, look at what you did here.

Jai Sep 07, 2014 08:51am

Imagine if Dilshan had offered advice to Shehzad asking him to convert to Buddhism given the state the Islamic world finds itself in !!

Jawad Sep 07, 2014 09:33am

@Mukesh

You know. I agree fully.

Taloot Sep 07, 2014 02:06pm

So true.... Well done Ms Tazeen. At least someone has the ability to speak truth in this over religized country. Full marks to Pakistan cricket board as well for standing up for reality.

Aslam Khan Sep 07, 2014 02:27pm

Nothing wrong with Ahmed Shehzad. All religions are not equal. It is his duty to tell the truth.

But I do agree with the author. Ahmed should not have preached like this outside Pakistan.

itrat Sep 07, 2014 03:13pm

What Mr. Shehzad had said to Mr. Dilshan, is not in accordance to ethics ,Agreed. He should be disciplined and that's it.

We have bigger problems to solve and World Cup is near. So Don't bring this , into bigger lime light,. its a minor issue.

fellow traveller Sep 07, 2014 03:43pm

Brilliant article. Totally agree with the author.

Umar Khan Sep 07, 2014 08:01pm

@being human We indeed need some introspection. If Dilshan had asked Shehzad to convert to Buddism there would have been riots in the streets. Lahore would be in flames. The crowds would be baying for the blood of Dilshan.

Taloot Sep 08, 2014 02:05am

@Observer When your time, talent, resources, tickets, visas everything is paid for, the player is supposed to be an ambassador. Ambassadors do not have the luxury of private talks. If Mr Shehzad wants to preach, he should do it on his own expense.

jalal khattak Sep 08, 2014 02:22am

if women protesting at long march can dance on roads,why can't sportsmen men preach Islam on a tour? You can't blame others for Ahmad Shahzad,just keep to it to Ahmad Shahzad. :)

noni Sep 08, 2014 02:40am

He should be given an Warning. Any future political or religious talk or any act of serious indiscipline be automatic termination. on his part. Moreover he needs guidance what not to talk while representing a country; its a possibility he might be cracking a joke and might have been interpreted wrong.

Azfar Sep 08, 2014 03:37am

Part, that is most controversial then the actual story line is author's (maybe pun was intended?) classifying, albeit acknowledging the danger, declaring Aamir Liaqat as preacher of Islam and listing him with the likes of Tariq Jameel. No disrespect towards anyone but at best Aamir is a great entertainer and I will acknowledge him as such.

Win Sep 08, 2014 07:57am

As a non-muslim, I would feel awkward if someone said those things to me.

But one of the biggest problems facing Pakistan (and rest of the world) is the lack of tolerance of a few towards majority's freedoms. Banning Shehzad's right to free speech is absolutely the wrong thing to do here. It will only exacerbate fundamentalist's persecution complex.

As I see it, Mr. Shehzad expressed his opinion and Mr. Dilshan declined it. No harm done!

Xyz Sep 08, 2014 11:37am

@abdullha shehzad offends another person's religion without provocation and u ask what harm was done. So what was the harm done in case of that silly YouTube film which had eveyone rioting in protest?

Xyz Sep 08, 2014 11:53am

@Talha what makes U think dilshan doesn't believe in god already? Or are u one if those people who think that Muslims have exclusive rights to god?

Arshad Adil Sep 08, 2014 12:19pm

Every so called expert on religion is expressing his/ her views without having the basic knowledge of Islam, Ahmed Shehzad did a right thing in a wrong way but Miss Tazeen Javed is also doing it and seems like she is advocating view point of non Muslims. After reading the article and comments i wonder we are Muslims or not. Miss Tazeen javed have the right to criticize but she dont have the right to mock Islam by giving sarcastic remarks.

Monty Sep 08, 2014 12:35pm

And how does Mr. Khan's alleged spousal assault and battery have anything , whatsoever to do with Ahmad Shehzad's evangelism? Way to paint a picture, Counsel.

abhi Sep 08, 2014 01:45pm

You can see many comments condoning the behavior of Shehzad! This is from english speaking elites. I am sure most of the common Pakistani will be appreciating what he has done.

Hassan Wali Sep 08, 2014 03:15pm

Dear Writer,

The issue under discussion has not just the one angle which you have mentioned. Rather the story has positives too. But before I go ahead I would like to inform you that Dilshan was born to a Muslim Father and his original name is Tuwan Mohamed Dilsha. Now, coming back to the point. I am surprised that the person who has being given dawah didn't complain then why are the non-stake holders are unnecessarily becoming champions of Islam and Sports. Did Shehzad raised fingers against your mistakes and other blenders which you have made in your respective fields??? Where is tolerance in the so called educated and social activist, Madam??? Better you stop advising others about what they do and Mind your own business and prove that your point of view is worth listening/reading.

S. A. Khan Sep 08, 2014 03:41pm

@Abdur Razzaq The game is not important than ISLAM. But if somebody wants to do a service to Islam then it's better do it at their own cost rather than on a paid national trip wearing national uniform.

J.Niaz Sep 08, 2014 04:05pm

Very nice piece.

pittmanway Sep 08, 2014 04:27pm

Miss Tazeen why have you drag Moin Khan?its not right in same breathe you have mentioned about his personal life,leave him alone please.

Danish Sep 08, 2014 04:56pm

The every single word you wrote reflects your knowledge, maturity & sincerity. I suggest PCB must hire a reputed consultant & held some courses to enlightens such cricketers who just don't know what to talk & what not? I still remember Ahmad Shahzad taunting his well wishers on live TV by saying that he dedicates his century scored against Bangladesh to those critics back home who has criticized him in past over his earlier poor outings. Pakistan is lucky that this thing happened in Srilanka, Had this happened in England or Australia the media over there would have ballooned it to highest level & Pakistan Cricket in the present circumstances can ill afford such silly things any more. I hope PCB will take this matter seriously for the sake of Pakistan as we have two very important upcoming series in UAE against two important cricketing nations of west allies namely Australia & Kiwis & in present media age one can not be lucky third time .

chippa Sep 09, 2014 12:55am

where are my comments?????

nEo Sep 09, 2014 04:12pm

very well put up Tazeen...excellent article.. kudos.. the last sentence takes the icing on the cake.. the day everyone realizes it and minds their own businesses, we will have a better world to live in... keep up with good work..

nEo Sep 09, 2014 05:37pm

@Akhmed - nicely put my friend.. going by your name, i am pleased to know that you have a good understanding of other religions as well as your own too...

Faysal Sep 10, 2014 10:41am

@Ramu Hit the nail on the head with that statement Sir !

Irfan Sep 11, 2014 10:54am

My sentiments exactly. And very well written!