Arsenal chief defends response to Ozil comments about Uighur Muslims

Fri 19 February 2021 | 21:09

Arsenal chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham has supported the team's answer to Mesut Ozil's condemnation of the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China.

The Gunners highlighted that they would not get involved in politics and also have several business ties in China and were accused of prioritizing commercial matters in their response.

"I don't think it's fair to say we took a commercial view,"

Venkatesham explained to the FT Business of Football.

"We were asked for comment around the situation, predominantly we were asked for a comment in China but it was generally.

"There wasn't a commercial driver behind that, it was simply being clear it wasn't Mesut making a club statement, it was him making one in an individual capacity, as is his right."

Despite Ozil's speech against reports that Uighur Muslims are kept in concentration camps, China informs that are "re-education" camps used to integrate the minority group to society.

Ozil shared on social media:

“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?”

The Germany international had an interview in The Athletic, saying he was frustrated by


's answer.

“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,"

he added.

“I have given a lot to


, 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."

The 32-year-old's last performance for



was a Premier League match against West Ham in March 2020. He finally left the team in the January transfer window.



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