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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Usman Khawaja decides to fight ICC ban on Gaza message

Khwaja wore shoes with an encrypted message calling for the freedom and respect of human lives in Gaza. The message written at the bottom of his shoes was in green and red color, signifying the colors of the Palestinian flag.

Australian cricketer Usman Khwaja vows to fight the ICC ban on displaying messages in support of Gaza on his shoes.

Khwaja wore shoes with an encrypted message calling for the freedom and respect of human lives in Gaza. The message written at the bottom of his shoes was in green and red color, signifying the colors of the Palestinian flag.

He wore the shoes during the practice session of the match ahead of the Perth Test match against Australia. The message on the shoes did not mention Gaza and Palestine but it was a general message that read,  “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right”.

ICC has now stopped Usman Khwaja from wearing the shoes during the match. According to the ICC, the message is political. Reacting to the ban, Khawaja released a video on his social media accounts.

In his video message, he said that the message is not political but instead is a general humanitarian message urging to respect human lives and freedom.

https://x.com/Uz_Khawaja/status/1734830493890404372?s=20

 

The cricketer said that he is not taking sides but it is a bigger question if people are getting offended by him saying ‘all lives are equal’. He further added that to him one Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life.

The Australian batter said he is speaking up for those who do not have a voice. He will speak up when he will see thousands of children dying.

“No one chooses where they are born… I already felt my life wasn’t equal to others when I was growing up. But luckily for me, I have never lived in a world where the lack of inequality was life or death,” he said.

He said that ICC views it as a political statement but I see it as a humanitarian appeal. “I will respect (the International Cricket Council’s) view and decision, but I will fight it and seek to gain approval,” he said further.

Khwaja has been raising his voice for the people of Gaza on social media accounts calling for a ceasefire.

Cricket Australia and captain Patt Cummins have spoken up in favor of Usman Khwaja. “We support the right of our players to express personal opinions. But the ICC has rules in place which prohibit the display of personal messages which we expect the players to uphold,” Cricket Australia said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cummins also said, “I don’t think he intended to make too big of a fuss,” he said.

“I think he had ‘all lives are equal’. I don’t think that’s very divisive. I don’t think anyone can have too many complaints about that.”

Sports Minister Anika Wells also supported him and said, “Usman Khawaja is a great athlete and a great Australian. He should have every right to speak up on matters that are important to him. He has done so peacefully and respectfully,” she said.