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Over 40 community organisations in Yorkshire call upon the Yorkshire County Cricket Club to investigate institutional racism within the club.

Over 40 community organisations in Yorkshire call upon the Yorkshire County Cricket Club to investigate institutional racism within the club.

Categories: Past Event Articles

Wednesday October 14 2020

MEND Yorkshire initiated an open letter that was signed by over 40 Yorkshire-based faith groups and community organisations which called upon the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) and the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) to initiate investigations into institutional racism within the club.

According to Azeem Rafiq, who played for the club between 2008 and 2018, his experiences of racism at the club left him on the “brink of suicide” and he “lost faith in humanity” after his reports were ignored by the club.

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who represented the club in 2008 and 2009, also claims that he witnessed “systemic taunting” while playing for the club.

The open letter says: “Recently, we were disturbed to hear the account of Azeem Rafiq, who claims the “institutional racism” he experienced at Yorkshire County Cricket Club left him “on the brink of suicide.”

“These are serious allegations which have dealt a severe blow to the trust that BAME communities have in the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

“A beauty of cricket is that it is a binding and unifying force between people from all faiths, races, and cultures. Our shared love of the sport is something which should unite our communities and bring us together. It should never create divisions between us. It should never take a person to the brink of suicide.”

“In this country, we believe in justice and equality for all. For this reason, numerous community organisations and faith groups work diligently across the UK to embody the essential mission of uniting people in solidarity and celebrating the rich culture of our nation. Indeed, diversity is a foundational strength of any thriving society, and racism of all kinds serve only to inhibit progression and weaken our communities. Thus, a failure to address and eradicate all forms of structural, institutional, and overt racism can only result in immense challenges for the Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Yorkshire Cricket Board in attempting to form meaningful relationships with BAME communities.”

“Therefore, we, the undersigned, call upon the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, the Yorkshire Cricket Board, and the English Cricket Board to:

  • Initiate an urgent root and branch investigation into allegations made by Azeem, including an examination of racism at structural and institutional levels.
  • Implement a “Zero Tolerance” policy, such as those already adopted by other sports, to ensure that racism is addressed across all interactions between both members and supporters.
  • Work with mainstream grassroots organisations to develop educational and awareness programmes aimed at eliminating all forms of racism throughout the organisations themselves.”

Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of MEND, says: “MEND is deeply troubled by these allegations and the YCCC must undertake a full inquiry into racism at all levels if it is to instil confidence within BAME communities. Institutions such as the YCCC have a duty to reflect the unifying spirit of sport, and thus must enforce a zero-tolerance policy towards racism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of prejudice. It is imperative that we do not allow the next generation of talented BAME cricketers to be dissuaded from participating fully in their clubs for fear of being targets of racist behaviour.”

List of signatories:

  1. Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND)
  2. United Mosque Council of South Yorkshire
  3. Association of Muslim Scholars (Jamiat Ulama-e-Britain), Wakefield
  4. Cllr Md Shahzad, Leeds City Council
  5. Cllr Sheikh Ullah, Kirklees Council
  6. Gerard Charles, Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), UK
  7. South Asian Consortium Kirklees (SACK), Kirklees
  8. Pakistan & Kashmir Welfare Association (PKWA), Batley
  9. Indian Muslim Welfare Society (IMWS), Batley
  10. Md Nasser, University of Sheffield
  11. Md Arshad, Civil Service, Sheffield
  12. Islamic Society, University of Huddersfield
  13. Wakefield Central Mosque, Wakefield
  14. Makki Masjid, Halifax
  15. Huda Institute, Huddersfield
  16. Jamia Masjid Noor, Huddersfield
  17. Abu Bakar Masjid, Bradford
  18. Masjid Abu Bakr, Huddersfield
  19. Masjid Riza, Huddersfield
  20. Clare Hill Centre, Huddersfield
  21. Iqra Centre (UKIM), Leeds
  22. The Lingfield Centre (UKIM), Leeds
  23. JKN Institute, Bradford
  24. Masjid Bilal, Huddersfield
  25. Hyde Park Times, Leeds
  26. Kumon Y’all, Kirklees
  27. Huddersfield Community First, Kirklees
  28. Conscious Youth C.I.C, Kirklees
  29. Masoom Care, Huddersfield
  30. Muslim Welfare House, Sheffield
  31. Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), Sheffield
  32. Diversity = Innovation Network, Huddersfield
  33. Local Services 2 You, Kirklees
  34. Stand Up To Racism, Wakefield
  35. Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Sheffield
  36. Al Haadiyah School, Leeds
  37. Raising Explorers, Bradford
  38. Thornton Lodge Action Group (TAG), Kirklees
  39. Street Wise, Kirklees
  40. Team Hanson, Kirklees
  41. Mary Magdalene CIC, Bradford
  42. Abo Barirah Institute, Dewsbury
  43. Shaykh Tehsin, Baitut Tawheed Masjid, Dewsbury

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