Azeem Rafiq: On Racism & Islamophobia

Azeem Rafiq

As a resident of Yorkshire, as an individual who plays Cricket actively for both a reputable Cricket club and league, as a British Asian and from an ethnic minority, and as an active member of ECB I am not surprised nor shocked nor thunderstruck from watching live the testimony of Azeem Rafiq. Available here.

Having watched his testimony I am, however, angered and irritated by his experiences of racism and Islamaphobia at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC).

Sport in the UK has a big problem with Racism. Often we see, almost to a norm, players taking the knee before the game commences in solidarity in eradicating racism in all forms of Sport. That said, I feel there is a much deeper problem that is being overlooked here and that is “Islamaphobia”.

Islamaphobia is no different from Antisemitism. They are one of the same, just a different format of faith: Islam.

A brief look at Antisemitism: Antisemitism is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is considered to be a form of racism. You only have to replace two words here Antisemitism with ‘Islamaphobia’ and Jews with the word ‘Muslims’.

Much of Azeem Rafiq’s testimony included experiencing Islamophobia as well as racism due to his colour.

So why then is Islamophobia taking a back seat in all of this?

If you have experienced racism and Islamophobia in Sport (at any level) I’d love to hear more about it and be sure to add in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Azeem Rafiq: On Racism & Islamophobia

  1. I was equally horrified but not surprised by his experience with Yorkshire. Moreover, I can well believe the culprits either not remembering the incidents or passing it off as ‘banter’. This is the nature of systemic and culture-wide racism in the UK.

    I have often said – publicly in speeches as well as in writing – that the UK suffers from a form of ‘soft racism’ where most (white) people don’t consider themselves racist yet do not see how the jokes and the differences in treatment of others (or even just holding to opinions about the ‘differences’ between different types of ethnic groups) is all racism in action. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the EDL to be a racist.

    Unfortunately, this is such a characteristic of the British (and the English in particular) that I can’t see it ever being eradicated. We’re not a nation that ever looked at itself properly in the mirror after the empire days, unlike the Germans did. As a result, empire beliefs continue into the present and continue to make us a sick nation.

    1. Agreed, the minimum that can be achieved is that institutions are exposed and countermeasures are introduced to punish and prevent Racism of all types from occurring.

      In addition, more ethnic minority people need to get involved at all levels to help, at minimum, to balance the equation to some degree.

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