Afridi's Selfie Snafu: Ex-Cricketer Supports Palestine, Denies Endorsing Israel in Manchester

Shahid Afridi went viral after a Zionist group NWFOI in the UK claimed the former Pakistani cricket star supported their call for hostage release.

Afridi's Selfie Snafu: Ex-Cricketer Supports Palestine, Denies Endorsing Israel in Manchester
Source: Dawn

In a strange mix-up, former Pakistani cricket star Shahid Afridi found himself at the center of controversy after a photo with a pro-Israel group went viral on Wednesday. Known for his support of Palestine, Afridi took to X (formerly Twitter) to ward off the claims, explaining that the photo was just a fan interaction, and he supports Palestine. 

The confusion started when the North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI) posted a picture of Afridi with its chair and deputy chair, claiming he supported their protest to release Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Their caption read, "Pakistani international cricketer @SAfridiOfficial stopped to offer his support for our call to release the hostages at our NWFOI vigil last Sunday in Manchester."

Afridi, surprised and amused, quickly responded. "Imagine strolling down a street in Manchester (UK) and so-called fans approach you for a selfie. You oblige, and moments later, they upload it as some form of Zionist endorsement," he wrote. "Unbelievable! Please don’t believe everything that is uploaded.

He added, "Seeing innocent lives in Palestine suffer is truly heartbreaking. Thus, any photo or association shared in Manchester does not reflect my support for any situation where human lives are at stake."

Afridi's reaction was expected, given his strong support for Palestine. NWFOI, however, defended their post, saying Afridi had taken the picture with his camera and willingly posed with their leaflets. "You spoke to us of your own FREE will and posed for a selfie with hostage leaflets to support our cause," the group insisted.

Afridi, staying firm, reiterated that he often takes photos with fans from all over the world and this was no different. "As a Muslim, I pray for peace across the world," he stated, asking the group to delete the misleading post.

Following Afridi's clarification, X users had varied responses. Some supported Afridi's explanation, praising his integrity and dedication to humanitarian causes. User @FanForever commented, "Classic misunderstanding blown out of proportion! Afridi's always been a voice for the oppressed."

Others expressed skepticism and criticized NWFOI for the misleading caption. @PoliticalDebate tweeted, "It's alarming how easily photos can be misinterpreted. NWFOI should clarify their intentions."

On the flip side, a few Twitter users sided with NWFOI, questioning Afridi's motives despite his clarification. @GlobalNewsWatcher posted, "Did Afridi not know who he was posing with? Seems odd. This raises questions."