Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has criticised ex-Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for his recent remarks in the media. Inzamam had claimed during an event that Harbhajan was on the verge of converting to Islam after being influenced by Maulana Tariq Jameel during India’s series against Afghanistan.
In the interview, Inzamam stated that Harbhajan was moved by Maulana Tariq Jameel and even contemplated embracing Islam. “We had a designated prayer room where Maulana Tariq Jameel used to join us in the evening for prayers. After a few days, Irfan Pathan, Mohammad Kaif, and Zaheer Khan also started attending. Four other Indian cricketers observed us,” he explained. “Harbhajan, unaware that Tariq Jameel was a maulana, expressed, ‘I am impressed with this man and want to follow his words,’” he added.
Harbhajan refuted the entire story in a social media post, emphasising that he is a ‘proud Sikh.’
Yeh kon sa nasha pee kar baat kar raha hai ? I am a proud Indian and proud Sikh..yeh Bakwaas log kuch bi bakte hai 😡😡😡🤬🤬 https://t.co/eo6LN5SmWk
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) November 14, 2023
In the circulating video, Inzamam-ul-Haq asserted that Harbhajan Singh was among the Indian cricketers who regularly attended the sermons of Maulana Tariq Jameel, known for leading prayers with the Pakistan cricket team. According to the former Pakistani captain, he invited Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan, and Mohammad Kaif to participate in the prayer sessions during a tour, and Harbhajan also joined in. Inzamam further contended that Harbhajan, after exposure to Tariq Jameel’s preaching, expressed a profound admiration and reportedly considered converting to Islam.
“We had a designated room for prayers. Maulana Tariq Jameel would join us in the evening to lead the namaz. After a few days, Irfan Pathan, Mohammad Kaif, and Zaheer Khan joined in. Four other Indian cricketers sat there observing us. Harbhajan, unaware that Tariq Jameel was a maulana, stated, ‘I am impressed with this man, and my heart wants to follow his words,’ but I refrain because of you, as your lifestyle does not align with that,” Inzamam claimed, highlighting the perceived contradiction in the behavior of Muslims that, according to him, might deter non-Muslims from converting.
Previously, the conflict between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq escalated, leading to the acceptance of the former skipper’s resignation amid allegations of a conflict of interest.
On November 9, the PCB released an official statement confirming the acceptance of Inzamam-ul-Haq’s resignation.
“The Pakistan Cricket Board has acknowledged the resignation of Inzamam-ul-Haq from the positions of chairman of the national men’s selection committee and junior selection committee. The announcement of his successor will be made in due course.
Inzamam-ul-Haq voluntarily stepped down from his role on October 30, providing the PCB with the opportunity to conduct a transparent inquiry into the allegations of a conflict of interest,” stated the PCB release.
It’s worth noting that the aforementioned video had previously gone viral in September of the preceding year. However, the video has recently resurfaced on social media, with individuals criticising Pakistani cricketers for allegedly attempting to convert non-Muslims to Islam instead of focusing on the sport. It is important to highlight that the Pakistani team’s dressing room has been previously mentioned as a setting for conversion efforts. In a past incident, Inzamam Ul Haq had shared an account of himself and fellow former Pakistani cricketer Yousaf Yohana extending an “invitation to accept Islam” to the legendary West Indies cricketer Brian Lara.