Islamophobia and Racism on the Field

Zeeshan Ali, a Muslim football player, was attacked on the field by an opposition player

Zeeshan Ali, a Muslim football player, was attacked on the field by an opposition player.
Neither did Ali provoke the player in any way nor did he engage in any sort of unruly
behaviour. Yet he ended up with a broken nose that was bleeding profusely. Unsurprisingly, the referee did not reprimand the opposition player but simply sent the two players off the field.

This incident indicates how strongly racism prevails. This was not the first time Ali and
his team had faced racist behaviour, and this surely won’t be the last despite the fact that
complaints were registered with the FA.

Ali said, “Having played around the world since the age of 12. This has to be the most
unprovoked and shocking incident I’ve been involved in. I’m sure if I was playing in a
white team, this sort of behaviour would not have happened.”

Ali’s teammate Zahid Hamid posted on Facebook that when one plays in the league
one just has to “develop a thick skin” when slurs of “Paki” and “I will deport you” are
heard. One has to get used to this racial discrimination and racial abuse if they want to play for the league.

Despite writing to the local FA and the national FA, decisions to reprimand the perpetrators are yet to be made. The lack of action on the part of the FA makes one wonder if the FA actually supports racism. Islamophobia and racism are common occurrences. When formal bodies do not take action against such injustice that is reported to them, individuals who incorporate it in their daily lives feel free to pass their unwanted, racist comments and as seen in a lot of cases inflict violence. The fact that the attackers are not punished is a positive reinforcement for them.

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