In a recent interview, Mesut Ozil publicly criticised Arsenal for their seemingly hypocritical stance towards the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Gunners were allegedly quick to distance themselves from a social media post Ozil made last year criticising China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims, claiming that they did not want to get involved in politics.
However, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd earlier this year, the club was among those issuing public support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mesut Ozil interview quotes
Speaking to the Athletic for the first time since he was dropped by manager Mikel Arteta at the beginning of the Premier League’s ‘project restart’, the World Cup winner was keen to stress his approval of Arsenal’s “fantastic’ support for BLM, but criticised them for the perceived inconsistency of their messaging.
“Every human is equal. It doesn’t matter what religion or colour you are — Muslim, Christian, Jew, black, white or anything else” said Ozil. “We are all the same.
“What I said was not against Chinese people, it was against whoever is doing this to the Uighur Muslims and other people who are not helping them, such as other Muslim countries.”
Ozil’s history with China
China has come under scrutiny for its alleged detainment of Uighur people and other Muslim minorities in ‘re-education’ camps.
Back in December, Ozil criticised other Muslims in an Instagram post for their perceived silence regarding the issue. He questioned whether “giving consent for persecution [isn’t] persecution in itself.”
Arsenal – who went to China for their pre-season tour in 2017 – immediately came out to distance themselves from the comments of their midfielder on China’s leading social media site Weibo. Ozil has admitted that the stance frustrated him.
“I have given a lot to Arsenal, on and off the pitch, so the reaction was disappointing. They said they don’t get involved in politics, but this isn’t politics and they have got involved in other issues,” Ozil said.
Arsenal and Black Lives Matter
Arsenal joined every other Premier League team in having the Black Lives Matter logo on their shirts throughout Project Restart. They were also publicly supportive of the campaign and their players’ involvement with it on social media.
Ozil praised them for this stance, but questioned why he was not given the same backing.
“In America, we saw George Floyd killed and the world spoke up to say Black Lives Matter, and that is correct. We are all equal and it’s a good thing that people fight against injustice.
“There are a lot of black players and fans of Arsenal and it’s fantastic the club is backing them.
“But I wish people would have done the same for the Muslims because Arsenal have many Muslim players and fans as well, and it is important for the world to say that Muslim Lives Matter.”
Arsenal are yet to comment on Ozil’s interview.