Ace cricketer Zaheer Khan found himself at the receiving end of hate when assorted Islamists attacked him for heeding Prime Minister Modi’s call for lighting a Diya on April 5, 2020, in solidarity with the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus.
Akin to millions of Indians who followed PM Modi’s request to light a lamp or torch for 9 minutes starting 9 PM on April 5, 2020, cricketer Zaheer Khan too lighted a lamp and posted the photo of the same on his official Instagram page.
However, Khan’s gesture did not sit well with some of his rabid co-religionists who were prompt in slamming him for being a “Modi Bhakt” and not standing with the Markaz attendees who are responsible for about 30 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country.
One Instagram user Saquib Tanzil asked Zaheer why is he not supporting the Markaz. Another user, Md Taslim Anjum, derided Khan as a ‘Modi Bhakt’ for his noble act of encouraging the healthcare workers and uplifting the country’s morale by lighting a lamp. “Sad, one more Muslim person is Modi bhakt. Waah Modiji Waah, ek aur Muslim pe jaadu lar diye,” he wrote.
One Musheer Ahmed, who seemed inordinately discontented with PM Modi denigrated Khan for lighting the lamp. He bewailed that Khan would even consume “cow dung” if PM Modi asked him to do so, while admonishing him if he had lost his marbles for heeding PM Modi’s call to express gratefulness for the doctors, healthcare professionals and others who are tirelessly working and putting up a brave fight to ward off the threat of coronavirus.
It appears that fanatic Islamists on social media were thoroughly rattled by Muslim superstars who chose to follow PM Modi’s request of lighting a lamp or torch at their respective balconies as a mark of respect and show their solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. Earlier yesterday, another Muslim cricketer Mohammad Kaif received a barrage of criticism from the Islamists on his Twitter timeline after he posted a video of his family lighting a lamp to express his gratitude for all the doctors, medical staff, sanitation workers, govt. employees, police and army personnel, media personnel, bankers, essentials’ shopkeepers and all other warriors fighting COVID-19.
Scores of zealous Islamists descended on his Twitter and Instagram page, expressing vehement protest and abusing the former cricketer for coming out in support of PM Modi’s initiative. Many suggested that he must offer namaz instead to fight coronavirus. That he was ‘fooled’ to celebrate and light a lamp ahead of BJP’s foundation day. Others expressed disappointment that Kaif too had turned out to be a ‘Modi Bhakt’. The hatred continued on his Instagram page as well where he uploaded the same video he had on Twitter.
This is not the first time that radical Islamists have targeted Zaheer Khan for sharing photos that did not conform to their blinkered worldview. In October 2019, Khan was abused incessantly across various social media platforms for sharing a picture with his wife actress Sagarika Ghatge and wishing happy Diwali to everyone. Attacking Khan, several fundamentalists asked what face will he show to Allah if he celebrates Diwali like this.