The former Gunners boss is the latest to warn the midfielder after he condemned China’s mass internment of Uighur Muslims
Arsene Wenger says Mesut Ozil does not speak for Arsenal and must “accept the consequences” after he criticised China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims.
In social media posts last week, Ozil condemned China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, where over a million ethnic minorities have been detained in high security prison camps.
Ozil also called on other Muslims to stop ignoring the “plight” of the Uighurs in China, saying: “Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself? The honorable Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, says: ‘If you cannot prevent persecution, expose it’.”
China’s policy has been the subject of unprecedented criticism from the United Nations, as 23 member states, including the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan, called on the country to end the mass detention in the western region.
Arsenal moved to distance themselves from Ozil’s comments, insisting on Chinese social media platform Weibo that the club does not involve itself in politics.
In the wake of Ozil’s comments, Chinese state TV refused to broadcast Arsenal’s Premier League match against Manchester City on Sunday, while a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, said the former Germany international had been deceived by “fake news”.
Meanwhile, Yaya Toure, who now plays for Qingdao Huanghai in China, said the 31-year-old was wrong to get involved in the issue and the player was removed from the Chinese editions of the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer video games.
Former Gunners manager Wenger is the latest to warn Ozil to be careful with his comments, saying that not everybody shares his point of view.
“What he says is about himself and not Arsenal,” the Frenchman told BBC Sport.
“Mesut Ozil has freedom of speech like everyone else and he uses his notoriety to express his opinions, which are not necessarily shared by everybody.
“What’s important is that Ozil has an individual responsibility. He doesn’t have to carry the word of Arsenal Football Club. When you make a comment about your individual opinion you accept the consequences of it.”
However, Ozil does have some high-profile support, as United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted the truth will come out eventually.
“China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor Mesut Ozil and Arsenal’s game all season long, but the truth will prevail,” Pompeo tweeted.
“The CCP can’t hide its gross human rights violations perpetrated against Uighurs and other religious faiths from the world.”
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