Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen has come under fire for her crude comment on English cricketer Moeen Ali.
The comment was made on Twitter and later deleted, following Ali's request to his IPL team Chennai Super Kings' management to remove the team's sponsor's logo from his jersey. The logo was for a liquor company and Ali said it hurt his religious sentiments.
His request was approved.
The CSK jersey sports the logos of sponsors SNJ 10000 packaged drinking water and British Empire glasses, which are surrogate product brands of SNJ Distilleries Pvt Ltd, on its arm and at the back of the helmet.
This is not the first time Ali has requested to not wear an alcohol manufacturer's logo on his jersey. Previously, at Royal Challengers Bangalore, he voiced this concern against the team's title sponsor, Royal Challenger's, logo. After England's stunning World Cup feat in 2019, he and fellow Muslim cricketer Adil Rashid were famously seen staying away from the team's champagne celebrations.
Nasreen's unpleasant tweet read "If Moeen Ali were not stuck with cricket, he would have gone to Syria to join ISIS." Soon after, the internet lashed out at her for the insensitivity, racism and Islamophobia in her remark. Fellow English cricketers Jofra Archer and Saqib Mahmood spoke out in support of their teammate and were heavily critical of Nasreen's remarks.
Archer brought her state of mind into question.
Mahmood was disgruntled too.
English county cricketer Ben Duckett was shocked, and called for a change on the social media platform.
Nasreen, upon receiving such replies, "clarified" her intent and claimed that her words were meant to be taken as "sarcasm". Excuse us for not seeing the sarcasm in her bigoted tweet. Her statement was not only nasty, it was also completely insensitive to Ali. Being a Muslim and bearded cricketer hasn't been easy for him, as his father Munir detailed to the Indian Express.
"I remember sitting at the ground at Worcester years ago when Moeen walked out to bat. A loud voice shouted, 'shave off the beard!'. I had already been hearing some murmurs in the cricketing world about Moeen’s faith," Munir said, recalling his son's early days in the profession.
"I would ask her to pick a dictionary and see the meaning of sarcasm. 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," Munir was quoted as saying.
Propagation of such ideas, especially by South Asian writers, is damaging to the global fight against Islamophobia.
Archer, however, was not buying it.
And neither was Indian feminist Kavita Krishnan.
Nasreen's bigoted thoughts have been the talk of the town on social media.
Arun Pandey, a former Indian cricketer, expressed his dislike of the situation, calling for an end to judgement based on how people look.
Calls for Twitter to suspend Nasreen's account are also building, with dedicated hashtags appearing in tweets.
The internet also took great joy in the support Ali has received both from his English teammates and the global cricketing community at large.
All in all, the tweet was extremely distasteful, especially when it was directed towards a minority Muslim in England, who has fought racism all his life to accomplish the great things he has today. Nasreen now hilariously claims she is the victim of a witch hunt and is being victimised for criticising Islam.
Do better, Taslima Nasreen. Your bigoted views are what have landed you in trouble, not a discussion on religion. Targeting anyone for how they look and perpetuating stereotypes makes you no better than the racists who attack brown people on the street and as a fellow brown person, you should know better.