Arsenal distances self from Ozil over Muslim post row

Premier League giants Arsenal have distanced the club from midfielder Mesut Ozil’s comments on the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China.

Rights groups say about a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial in high-security prison camps.

China says they are being educated in “vocational training centres” to combat violent religious extremism.

“Arsenal is always apolitical as an organisation,” the London club said.

“Following social media messages from Mesut Ozil on Friday, Arsenal Football Club must make it clear that these are Mesut’s personal views.”

The Gunners’ statement was published on Chinese social media site Weibo.

In his post Ozil, who is a Muslim, called Uighurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised both China and the silence of Muslims in response.

China has consistently denied mistreating Uighur Muslims in the country.

Arsenal’s statement received thousands of comments, many were critical or suggested it was not good enough. One commenter wrote “that’s it?”, while another responded with a picture of an Ozil shirt they had cut up.

Some users also wrote posts with the hashtags “#Protesting against Ozil” and “#Ozil made inappropriate comments about China”.

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