Arsenal FC’s star midfielder Mesut Özil posted a passionate message on Twitter criticising the Muslim world’s silence over China’s persecution of Muslims in East Turkestan.
Özil, who is a German-born Muslim of Turkish descent, posted the following message on his official Twitter account, which was translated into English by IlmFeed:
“O East Turkestan!
“The bleeding wound of the Ummah. The community if fighter who resist persecution. The glorious believers who are fighting alone against those who try to forcibly take them away from Islam. Qurans are burned, mosques are closed, madrassas are banned, religious scholars are killed one by one.
“The brothers are forced into the camps. Chinese men are settled in their families instead of them. The sisters are forced to marry Chinese men.
“Despite all this, the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad is silent. Muslims are not supported. Don’t they know that consenting to persecution is persecution? How nicely Hadhrat Ali said: “If you cannot prevent persecution, make it known publicly!”
“While these events have been on the agenda even in the Western media and states for some months and weeks, where are the Muslims countries and media?
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“Don’t they know that staying neutral when persecution is carried out is despicable? Don’t they know that what our brothers and sisters will remember about these sad/tough days years later is not the torture of the tyrants, but the silence us, their Muslim brothers?
“O Allah, help our brothers and sisters in East Turkestan.
“Undoubtedly Allah is the best of planners.“
Arsenal have since distanced themselves from Ozil’s statement. The English Premier League football club posted a statement on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
“Regarding the comments made by Mesut Özil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement,” it read. “The content published is Özil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”
Chinese broadcasters did not air Arsenal’s match against Manchester City on Sunday.
Situation of Uyghur and Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan
The United Nations (UN) has estimated that at least one million Uyghur Muslims have been forcibly detained in detention centres, which Amnesty International has compared to “wartime concentration camps”.
Former inmates have stated that they were physically and mentally tortured into denouncing Islam and swearing allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.
China had consistently denied the existence of the camps until last October, and has since claimed it is detaining people guilty of minor crimes in “vocational education centres”.
The Chinese government has received widespread criticism from western states over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
But Muslim leaders are yet to criticise China, which has in recent years become an important trading partner with many Muslim majority countries.