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Lucknow clerics condemn Afridi's remarks

Tuesday April 05, 2011 06:01:08 PM, IANS

Lucknow: Muslim clerics here have taken strong exception to Pakistani cricket skipper Shahid Afridi's remark about his countrymen being "more large-hearted" than Indians, terming him a "small-hearted" and "frustrated" man. Afridi has since retracted, saying he was misquoted.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed, Lucknow's Naib Imam and head of the city's oldest Islamic seminary, Firangi Mahal, felt Afridi's remark "reflected the mentality of a small-hearted person".

"While Afridi terms Muslims as large-hearted people, he fails to realise that India has a far larger number of Muslims than Pakistan," he said Tuesday

He also slammed the Pakistani cricketer for his criticism of Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir dedicating India's World Cup victory to the memory of those killed in the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

"What Gambhir said that day was very natural and spontaneous and I see no reason for the Pakistani captain to raise any objection against that," Maulana Rasheed said. "However, even as he sought to raise questions about the identity of the attackers, Afridi has unwittingly conveyed that he was actually aware as to who carried out the attacks," he added.

Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawaad too criticised the Pakistani cricketer.

"If Afridi's assertions were to be believed then one would have to suspect Allah's equal disposition towards one and all," remarked Jawaad.

"After all, the God Almighty is absolutely impartial. He does not discriminate with anybody and therefore provides the same heart to every human being," he added.

"Afridi's observations reflected the expressions of a frustrated man," he said.

Afridi, who had sparked off a controversy saying Indians are not as large-hearted as Pakistanis or Muslims and it is very difficult to improve the relations between the two countries, went on the backfoot Tuesday, saying his comments were misquoted by sections of the media.

"First of all, I want to congratulate the Indian team and the people for winning the World Cup. I have been playing cricket for a while. It is a shame that media has hyped up the issue. I have never discriminated between a Hindu or a Muslim. It is all equal in our religion. My comments were misquoted by the media," Afridi said.



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