Over the past two days, the Pakistani Cricket team has been embroiled in a controversy which has brought to light the inherent xenophobia of the players, and the Pakistani state at large. Shoaib Akhtar, two days ago on Pakistani national television, spoke about how a Hindu spinner, Danish Kaneria faced unimaginable discrimination and hatred by his teammates.
Shoaib Akhtar also spoke about Yousuf Yohana (now Mohammad Yousuf). Yohana, originally a Christian, was forced to convert to Islam after he too faced unprecedented discrimination by his teammates and the establishment, and people at large. His parents had vehemently protested his decision to convert. Rashid Latif said, “Yousuf Yohana was bullied a lot. He was also a God-gifted player.” Shoaib added, “Yousuf was to have 12,000 runs. But, we never guarded him.”
It must be mentioned here that Yohana has now dismissed all these claims and has attempted to come out as a proud Pakistani Muslim. In a tweet, Yohana said, “I condemn the comments made about discrimination regarding players from the minority in the Pakistan Team. I have been a member of the team & I’ve always had a lot of love & support from the team, the management & the fans! Pakistan Zindabad.”
I condemn the comments made about discrimination regarding players from the minority in the Pakistan Team. I have been a member of the team & I’ve always had a lot of love & support from the team, the management & the fans! Pakistan Zindabad
— Mohammad Yousaf (@yousaf1788) December 27, 2019
Originally born a Christian, Yohana converted to Islam in 2005 to secure himself from facing hatred and discrimination. Perhaps he is truly devoted to his new Muslim identity and is hurt by the statements of Akhtar. However, in all probability, Yousuf maybe simply too scared to admit the truth. This is nothing but an act of cowardice on the part of Yohana who simply refused to stand for his former teammate. On one hand, Danish Kaneria in a video statement yesterday spoke out against the discrimination he faced and also hailed Akhtar and other players who stood by him.
Earlier, Kaneria had also said that he would be revealing names of those who had portrayed their xenophobic tendencies. Remarkably, in the video, Danish is seen saying “Namaste, Salaam, Jai Shree Ram.” Towards the end he also states that he is a “proud Hindu”. In direct contrast to this is Yousuf Yohana, who after his conversion changed his name to Mohammad Yousaf. He can be simply perceived as a person with no spine and an unabashed hypocrite, who continues to live in constant fear of his duplicitous identity.
Instead of standing up for Danish Kaneria, Yohana chose to whitewash the Pakistani team while being fully aware that he was lying through his teeth. While Danish has not converted and given up on his culture, Yohana has readily paved the way for radical Islamists to make choices for him. Shameful, to say the least.