Arsenal have released a statement distancing themselves from comments made by Mesut Ozil regarding the plight of Uighur Muslims in China.
The German playmaker has spoken out against the alleged religious and ethnic persecution of minority groups in the Asian country.
It is claimed that more than a million Turkish-speaking Muslims in the region of Xinjiang have been held in detention camps.
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Ozil has said on social media: “East Turkistan, the bleeding wound of the Ummah, resisting against the persecutors trying to separate them from their religion.
“They burn their Qurans. They shut down their mosques. They ban their schools. They kill their holy men.
“The men are forced into camps and their families are forced to live with Chinese men. The women are forced to marry Chinese men.
“But Muslims are silent. They won’t make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?”
Arsenal, who have business interests in China, have made a statement of their own following Ozil’s comments.
The Premier League outfit said on Weibo, China’s most popular social media site: “Regarding the comments made by Mesut Ozil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement.
“The content published is Ozil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”
China has strenuously denied all accusations of mistreatment when it comes to Uighurs.
This is not the first time that Ozil has sparked controversy when it comes to social and political issues.
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Back in 2018, ahead of that year’s World Cup, he was widely criticised for declaring his support for Turkey’s president Recap Tayyip Erdogan – who was best man at his wedding over the summer.
Ozil was condemned in his native Germany, with the World Cup winner taking the decision to retire from international duty on the back of a final major tournament outing in Russia.
His focus has been locked on club matters since then, but the 2019-20 campaign has seen more questions asked of the 31-year-old’s value to the collective cause at Emirates Stadium.