Racist whistleblower Azeem Rafiq admits his shame over anti-Semitic messages

Whistleblower Azeem Rafiq confesses that he is ashamed of anti-Semitic messages he sent to a former player more than a decade ago.

he former Yorkshire spinner, widely praised for highlighting racial discrimination in cricket, appeared before a parliamentary election committee this week to lift the lid on his own experience but was forced to face his own past shortcomings.

A historic exchange with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid in which Rafiq made offensive remarks was discovered by The Times.

“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now removed it so as not to cause further offense,” the 30-year-old wrote on Twitter.

“I was 19 then and I hope and believe that I am a different person today. I am incredibly angry with myself and I apologize to the Jewish community and to everyone who is just offended by it.

“I will never try to defend the indefensible. For those I have hurt, I sincerely regret.

“I will continue to promote and possess further mistakes I have made.”

Chairman of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Marie Van Der Zyl said Rafiq is well aware of the frustration his comments will cause.

Azeem Rafiq suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket, so he will understand well the injury this exchange will cause to Jews who supported him.Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl

“Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket, so he will understand well the injury this exchange will cause to Jews who supported him,” Van Der Zyl said.

“His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe that he is not entirely sincere.”

Claudia Mendoza, co-CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, added on Twitter: “There is no doubt that this is extremely awkward for Azeem Rafiq, but he has fully owned himself, apologized, and no doubt – through his own experiences – has learned a lot about racism. . “

Javid’s former Warwickshire district was “deeply concerned” by the messages.

“We have already spoken briefly with Ateeq and will have a more detailed conversation to understand the nature of the exchange and how he or anyone else at Warwickshire has become involved,” chairman Mark McCafferty said in a statement to the PA news agency.

“Warwickshire CCC is purposeful to reflect the communities we serve at every level, where Edgbaston is a safe and welcoming place for all.”

Rafiq this month arranged an employment tribunal with Yorkshire, but vowed to stand alongside other victims of abuse and use his platform to become the “voice of the voiceless”.

Cricket charity Chance to Shine said the appearance of the anti-Semitic messages “only emphasizes the need for change within the game”.

Those who make decisions over the heads of the players are set for a test day on Friday as the England and Wales Cricket Board take part in a all-game meeting at The Oval.


Ateeq Javid during his time as Warwickshire player (David Davies / PA)

The board’s treatment of the ongoing racist crisis is likely to attract serious criticism.

The chairs of the 18 first-class counties will meet, joined by representatives of the 21 first-class cricket boards, the national county cricket association and the MCC, and it is understood there is some concern about the ice pace and failure. way the scandal was handled.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison also anticipates an attack by some attendees after his unannounced appearance before the Digital Culture, Media and Sport election committee shortly after Rafiq.

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