Footballer Mesut Ozil on India: ‘What is happening to human rights in the so-called largest democracy in the world ?’

The outspoken German football World Cupper Mesut Ozil has questioned India’s human rights record.

On Wednesday (April 27), on the night of Lailat al-Qadr, the 33-year-old footballer, who has been Arsenal’s highest-ever paid footballer prayed for the safety and well-being of the Muslim brothers and sisters in India. Ozil also condemned the human rights situation in the ‘so-called largest democracy in the world’, calling it shameful, took to Twitter and wrote, “Praying during the holy night of Lailat al-Qadr for the safety and well-being of our Muslim brothers and sisters in India. Let’s spread awareness to this shameful situation! What is happening to human rights in the so-called largest democracy in the world? #BreakTheSilence.”

The former Real Madrid midfielder is the captain of Turkish Super Lig club Fenerbahce.

Ozil has a history of making political statements in the past. In December 2019, he posted a poem on social media criticizing China’s alleged persecution of the Turkic-speaking Muslim minority, the Uighurs. His then-club Arsenal publicly distanced themselves from the player’s sentiments.

Earlier this month, the German player of Turkish origin had spoken on his Twitter timeline about world peace during the Russia-Ukraine war.

“Let’s keep praying for peace in the world – not just in Ukraine, but also in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and all other places in the world where people are suffering from war #StopWAR #JummaMubarak #M1Ö.”

In 2018, Ozil was trolled by fans in London for meeting with controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Following this, German international players such as Oliver Bierhoff and Ottmar Hitzfeld suggested that he should be dropped from the German World Cup squad.

Reacting to the anger, Ozil had clarified his position.

His statement said: “Since then, out paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe. I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions. As I said, my mother has never let me lose sight of my ancestry, heritage and family traditions. For me, having a picture with President Erdogan wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country. My job is a football player and not a politician, and out meeting was not an endorsement of any policies.”


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