Yaya Toure Slams Mesut Ozil For Hitting Out At China’s Treatment Of Muslim Uighurs
‘Footballers have to stay with football and politicians to politics because it’s going to attract a lot of problems… I think he was wrong to say that’: Yaya Toure slams Mesut Ozil for hitting out at China’s treatment of Muslim UighursLast week Mesut Ozil criticised Beijing’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang This led to Arsenal’s defeat by Manchester City being pulled by Chinese TVThe Chinese government accused Ozil of being ‘blinded and misled’ tooOzil, a Muslim, saw his club Arsenal choose not to defend him over the incidentYaya Toure, a fellow Muslim and who has played in China, echoes the club’s view
Arsenal forward Mesut Ozil should not have spoken out to denounce human rights in China, former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure said on Tuesday, fresh from a brief stint playing in the country.
Toure said that discussing the mass detention on Uighurs and others is ‘complicated’ because he and Ozil are both Muslim, but took a different approach to the Arsenal midfielder over whether athletes should use their platforms to discuss political issues.
‘Footballers have to stay with football and politicians to politics because you cannot be involved with this kind of things because it’s going to attract a lot of problems and a lot of things,’ Toure said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘As a Muslim it is complicated and it is his choice. He’s been doing his comments but I think he was wrong to say that.’
Yaya Toure has criticised Mesut Ozil for speaking out on China’s treatment of Muslim Uighurs
Arsenal midfielder criticised China’s policies toward its Muslim Uighur minority on Saturday
Ozil’s criticism last week of Beijing’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang led to Arsenal’s match being pulled from Chinese television. The Chinese government accused Ozil of being ‘blinded and misled’ before protesting about mass detentions and the closure of mosques in the northwest region.
One politician who did weigh in to support Ozil was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
‘China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor (Ozil) and Arsenal’s games all season long, but the truth will prevail,’ Pompeo wrote on his US government Twitter account on Tuesday. ‘The CCP can’t hide its gross #HumanRightsviolations perpetrated against Uighurs and other religious faiths from the world.’
Toure, a former Ivory Coast international, has just completed five months playing at Chinese second-tier club Qingdao Huanghai. Toure’s comments on Ozil echo the stance of Arsenal, which said it ‘adheres to the principle of not being involved in politics.’
China state broadcaster CCTV scrapped coverage of Arsenal vs Manchester City as a result
‘I always love football,’ Toure said during a trip to Qatar with FIFA for the Club World Cup, ‘and that’s why sometimes I don’t want to be political.’
Secret documents reported by the AP last month showed the Chinese government used mass surveillance and an integrated computing system to target pious Muslims and Uighurs who travelled abroad for detention in internment camps.
China has been accused of detaining more than one million Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang and subjecting them to torture, beatings and food deprivation. The documents showed they were forced to learn Mandarin and Communist ideology.
Fans show Ozil their support after the German hit out at the Chinese government
A placard reads ‘Thanks for being our voice’ with a picture of Ozil on the front
Toure, who is also a Muslim – like Ozil, has just finished a spell in China for Qingdao Huanghai