News Live Scores
Mesut Özil

Ozil wrong to call out China with Uighur Muslim comments, says Yaya Toure

1:53 PM IST 18/12/19
Mesut Ozil, Uighur Muslim protest
The two players follow the same faith but the latter feels politics is best left up to politicians

Yaya Toure has stated his belief that Mesut Ozil was wrong to call out China via social media for their alleged mistreatment of the Uighur Muslim population in the country.

Ozil had spoken out against reported religious and ethnic persecution of the minority group, stating on Instagram: “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 quickly distanced themselves from their playmaker's comments, stating that they have "always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics".

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, also responded to the former Germany international's claims, insisting that the 31-year-old had been fooled by misinformation.

“I don’t know if Mr. Ozil has ever been to Xinjiang personally but he’s been completely deceived by fake news and false statements have influenced his judgement,” Shuang said.

Toure, who spent eight trophy-laden years with Premier League champions Manchester City, now plies his trade in China for Qingdao Huanghai and feels that a fellow Muslim should follow Arsenal's lead in leaving politics out of football.

“I was quite amazed,” the Ivorian told SNTV. “I think me and my point of view [is that] football is something that is very important.

“But I think footballers have to stay with football and politicians do politics because you cannot be involved in these kinds of things. It's going to attract a lot of problems and to be honest, as a Muslim, it's complicated.

“It's his choice, he's been doing his comments [on social media], but I think he was wrong to say that.”

The Gunners will hope to see Ozil fully focused on football for their trip to Everton on Saturday, with both teams eager to appoint a new permanent manager before the clash and fight for positive results after a poor start to the season.