Premier League club Arsenal have distanced themselves from a post on social media by their player Mesut Özil, condemning the persecution of Muslim Uighurs in China.
"When it comes to Mesut Özil's comments on social networks, Arsenal must make a clear statement," says a statement from the club, which was published on the Chinese platform Weibo, including as "Guardian" reports. "The content is Özil's personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal have always adhered to the principle of not being politically involved."
Özil had previously condemned the silence of most Muslim states about the persecution of Uighurs in China. In an article written in Turkish, he wrote that in China "Korans were burned, mosques closed, Islamic schools banned". "The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard."
The former German international and world champion of 2014 wrote that Western governments and the media would campaign against the concerns of the Uighurs. "In retrospect, the tyrants of the tyrants will not be remembered, but the silence of the Muslim brothers," Özil wrote.
Arsenal's commercial interests?
According to the Guardian, Arsenal runs a restaurant chain in China, and the club's commercial interest could therefore be a reason for Özil's detachment. It wasn't until October that statements by Daryl Morey, manager of the Houston Rockets NBA team, caused outrage in China. In a tweet, Morey had expressed solidarity with the people of Hong Kong who also protested against China's influence.
Experts blame China for massive human rights violations against the Uighurs in Xinjiang Province. According to human rights activists, more than one million Muslims are in education camps by Chinese authorities. Having first denied the existence of the camps in Beijing, the government is now talking about "vocational training centers" for deradicalization.
Due to violations of human rights in the Uyghurs, the US House of Representatives recently launched a bill to impose sanctions on leading Chinese authorities.
The EU and Turkey have also recently criticized the handling of the Uighurs in China. The Chinese government will "refrain from arbitrary detention of Uighurs and members of other Muslim communities," the Federal Republic said in a joint statement with the United States, the United Kingdom and 20 other states ahead of the UN in New York.