24 October, 2020

Carols For Allah

Why did the sole Christian in the Pakistan cricket team embrace Islam? Was it coercion or career move?

Carols For Allah
Mohammad Ali Jinnah's dream of a secular Pakistan has taken yet another shattering blow in an unlikely arena: cricket. Yousuf Youhana—the only Christian in the current Pakistani cricket team, its mainstay of many years, its veritable Mr Dependable who has attained fame for his batting prowess—declared last week that he and his wife Tania had embraced Islam and adopted the Muslim names of Muhammad Yousuf and Fatima. For long a symbol for those who claimed Pakistan wasn't biased against non-Muslims—that at least on the cricket field, performance mattered more than the player's faith—Youhana's conversion to Islam leaves behind Hindu leggie Danish Kaneria as the only non-Muslim in a team which increasingly has members who wear their religion on their sleeves, or more visibly, on their faces.

Ordinarily, a person's change of faith ought not to be subjected to public scrutiny. But many here wonder whether Youhana's leap of faith was indeed prompted by a genuine change of heart. There's enough evidence to suggest that Youhana was more or less a pariah in the dressing room...


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