Home > Features >

Why it’s not right to tag the word “Muslim” to Usman Khawaja

Why it's not right to tag the word

Usman Khawaja made his Test debut for Australia against England in January 2011 © Getty Images

By Adrian Meredith

It has been widely reported in the press that Usman Khawaja is the first Muslim to play cricket for Australia.
 
I seriously disagree with that.
 
Players’ religion has never been recorded. How many people know what religion Michael Clarke is? Or Ricky Ponting? Or Matthew Hayden? Or Shane Warne? The simple fact is that we don’t know. We might assume that they are either Christian, agnostic, or atheist – we don’t know. For all we know, one of them might have been the first Muslim to play cricket for Australia. It is just that they kept it to themselves, as they are quite permitted to do.
 
The fact of the matter is that religion and race don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Right now, Islam is the second largest religion in the world, behind Christianity, and is also the fastest growing. While many westerners associate Islam with Arabs, there are actually a lot of non-Arabs who are Muslims, such as the Bosnian Muslims, who are white. Cat Stevens, a white folk singer from England, converted to Islam and became known as Yusuf Islam.
 
We know a player’s country of birth, and I can say with absolute certainty that Khawaja is the first player ever to play for Australia who was born in Pakistan.
 
Lisa Sthalekar is written as Indian-born and Gurinder Singh Sandhu, the Australian under-19 fast bowler, as a player of Indian origin than. We don’t hear the media make mentions of their religion. 

What religion was Colin “Funky” Miller? He was a bit odd and I can easily believe that he would have been in a religion other than the predictable Christian. What about Jason Gillespie?
 
What if Khawaja isn’t actually Muslim? Just because he is Pakistani doesn’t mean necessarily mean he is Muslim. Yousuf Youhana was Christian till he converted to Islam and became known as Mohammad Yousuf

Who was the first Hindu to play Test cricket? The first Buddhist? The first Sikh? The first Jew? The first atheist? The first agnostic? None of those statistics are available. So why say Khwaja is the first Muslim to play for Australia?
 
It makes sense to just call him the first Pakistan-born player not the first Muslim player.

(Adrian Meredith, an Australian from Melbourne, has been very passionate about cricket since he was seven years old. Because of physical challenges he could not pursue playing the game he so dearly loved. He loves all kinds of cricket – from Tests, ODIs, T20 – at all levels and in all countries and writes extensively on the game)

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Cardiff

India won by 133 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Harare

Australia won by 198 runs

Photos

Don Bradman's ducks

Videos

Mitchell Marsh: This is a big opportunity for me

MS Dhoni did not cross the line, clarifies BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel

Suresh Raina: Ravi Shastri gave us a lot of confidence

Adam Gilchrist ‘apologises’ to Glenn McGrath on Twitter

Michael Hussey calls for stringent measures to prevent illegal bowling actions

MS Dhoni heaps praise on Suresh Raina for match-winning knock

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Sri Lanka South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Misbah-ul Haq needs to be more proactive in 3rd ODI, says Rameez Raja

Faf du Plessis: Victory in 2nd ODI, not revenge for Test loss

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014: Kashmiri students bashed up in Punjab for supporting Pakistan

ICC World Cup 2015: David Richardson satisfied with preparations

Suresh Raina: Batting with MS Dhoni helped me

Four best partnerships between Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers

Aaron Finch rapidly emerging as Australia’s key batsman

Ravindra Jadeja: India’s go-to man against England in ODIs

Indian team discusses victory over England in 2nd ODI on Facebook

AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and other instances of two batsmen scoring centuries in a chase of over 300

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

666 Posts | 6 Fans

12 runs in one ball

Ebola in Nigeria: Virus claims doctor in Port Harcourt

Ebola in India: Indian-origin scientist finds possible therapy for Sudan Ebola virus (SUDV)

Faf du Plessis: Victory in 2nd ODI, not revenge for Test loss

Four best partnerships between Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers

Xiaomi to sell 40,000 Redmi 1S units on September 2, over 100,000 have already registered

Micromax to launch a new smartphone on September 1

Jennifer Aniston looking for directorial debut!

Priyanka Chopra’s Mary Kom gets a U certificate!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here