DHAKA, BANGLADES – Star Bangladesh cricketer Shakib Al Hasan has been forced to make a public apology after receiving Islamist threats for attending a Hindu ceremony in neighbouring India.
The leading all-rounder is the latest target of increasingly vocal Islamists who have also staged huge anti-France rallies in recent weeks over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Shakib, who has recently completed a year’s ban from cricket for failing to report corrupt approaches, set off a storm of social media protests in the Muslim majority country after attending a ceremony in Kolkata dedicated to a Hindu goddess.
Islamic preachers in Bangladesh say people should not attend the ceremonies of other faiths.
“As a practising Muslim
“I was on the stage for for barely two minutes. People are talking about this and thought I inaugurated it,” Shakib told an online forum late Monday.
“I did not do this and being a conscious Muslim I would not do this. But, maybe, I should not have gone there. I am sorry for this and apologise,” he said.
“As a practising Muslim I always try to follow religious customs. Please forgive me if I have done anything wrong,” he added.
Shakib spoke hours after a man made personal threats against him on a Facebook live forum for “hurting religious sentiment”. The man later apologised and went into hiding.
Police said they are trying to arrest the man and were searching for a knife that was brandished during the forum.
Shakib, currently the International Cricket Council’s top-ranked all-rounder in one-day internationals, was found in October 2019 to have breached the ICC anti-corruption code and was banned for two years, with one year suspended.
In 2015, Shakib became the first cricketer in history to hold the ICC top all-rounder ranking in all three formats of the game — Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals.
© Agence France-Presse