Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cricket under siege by Islamophobes

Xenophobes in Australia are morphing into Islamophobes because of a late swing after September 11. However, this late swing is not because of ball tampering rather it is due to the paranoia caused by invisible beamers. Schizophrenia, which causes paranoia, delusion, and hallucinations, is the most likely illness for seeing unreal objects or actions.

The former Australian cricketer, Dean Jones became berserk because of paranoia. He called the South African Muslim cricketer Hashim Amla “the terrorist” during second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo, while he was commenting live on air. He said, “the terrorist has got another wicket” when Alma took a catch. Ten Sports owned by Abdul Rahman Bukhatir sacked him immediately. However, his Australian employer 3AW Radio refused to sack him.

If controversial Australian umpire, Darrell Hair cannot prove that there was a case of a ball tampering in the Oval Test then he will fall in the same category along with his compatriot Dean Jones. Former England captain, Ian Botham said, “They needed to make a statement specifying exactly why the ball was changed, what they had seen, who was involved and how often.” Hair needs to answer all of these questions before he is allowed to supervise any match. It is vital to find out the history of xenophobia in Australia to understand the nature of characters involved in these matters.

The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard refused to call Dean Jones a “racist” and said, “you cannot be too careful in relation to links between one particular racial or religious group and terrorism”. What Howard will say if a former South African cricketer becomes less careful and calls an Australian cricketer a “White Terrorist” for killing innocent Iraqis and native Australians (Aboriginals)?

Australia has a long xenophobic history of more than two centuries. When English colonised Australia, they declared it a “Terra Nullius” - a no man’s land, so they could occupy the land of Aboriginals without offering any compensation. “Terra Nullius” applies when a piece of land is unoccupied or uncultivated according to European law. However, Aboriginals occupied Australia and they were using the land for day-to-day survival. English settlers used European law to justify colonisation.

These settlers committed the genocide by killing most of Aboriginals in Australia. The legacy of genocide is still hounding Aboriginals and they are in dire circumstances. They have high levels of unemployment and low life expectancy. Further, they have low levels of income, education, and health. White settlers used to take away Aboriginal children by force from their parents so children can be westernised. Aboriginals were not considered as a citizen of Australia until 1967. They were required to take permission before travelling in any part of Australia. They were converted to Christianity by force and they were not allowed to use their own language to eliminate their culture.

The Boxer, Anthony Mundine is one of distinguished Aboriginal sport stars. He converted to Islam, however he paid a big price for his conversion. The World Boxing Council (WBC) stripped Anthony Mundine of his ranking because of his remarks about September 11. Mundine said, “They call it an act of terrorism, but if you understand the religion and our way of life, it is not about terrorism, it is about fighting for God's laws and America brought it on themselves what they have done in the history of time”.

He was a rugby player, but he left the game because of continuous racism and discrimination. He decided to follow the footsteps of his father and decided to become a boxer. However, becoming a boxer does not mean that discrimination will stop. He faced a barrage of abuse by racist crowed which was supporting a white boxer named Danny Green. Street brawls erupted after the match in which dozens of people were involved. Many victims suffered severe injuries and ended in hospitals.

The tradition of racial slurs and discrimination is common in Australia. The former Opposition Leader of New South Wales, John Brogden described the wife of former premier Bob Carr as “mail order bride”, because she was a Filipino. Australian Prime Minister, John Howard is not strange to controversies. He is extremely conservative, pro-war, and an ally of the American President, George Bush. He is a populist and tries to exploit fears of people by talking about terrorism and unauthorised arrivals of immigrants.

Dean Jones labelled Muslims as “terrorists” and his Australian employer did not sack him. But, when Mundine criticised the USA, the World Boxing Council stripped of his ranking. This is a classical example of double standards. Islamophobia and discrimination are widespread in the Western societies. It is exercised in all areas of life such as education, housing, and employment.

Islamophobes can act in the presence of thousands of people and live cameras. Imagine what they will do when no one will be watching them. Think of a situation where a Muslim dares to seek a job in an institution in which Dean Jones have to make a decision to award the job. Jones will kick out the Muslim after labelling the Muslim jobseeker as a “terrorist”. Jones should stop commenting on cricket and become the President of the USA because he fulfils all requirements.

Current events pose a greater responsibility on Pakistani cricketers. Islamophobes are out there to get them. However, Pakistani players should be assured that they have done nothing wrong. The whole nation is supporting them to protect their reputation. They have to fulfil their responsibilities as role models by upholding higher standards of conduct. Pakistani players can handle any situation through their dignity and wisdom. This nation will always protect them from Islamophobes who believe in discrimination and racism.


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