England's Premier League club Arsenal star Mesut Ozil on Friday accused Muslims of staying silent over what he called China's persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
On his Instagram account, the Turkish international wrote under the headline, "East Turkistan: Bleeding Wound of Islamic Ummah," calling Uyghurs "warriors who resist persecution… Glorious believers who put up a fight alone against these who forcefully move people away from Islam."
In China, he wrote:
Qurans are burned… Mosques were closed down… Islamic theological schools, Madrasahs were banned … Religious scholars were killed one by one … Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet. Don't they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself? The honorable Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, says, 'If you cannot prevent persecution, expose it.'
China is accused of carrying out repressive policies against the Uyghur, a Turkic Muslim group, and restraining their religious, commercial and cultural rights.
China's Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
Up to one million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
In a report, last September, Human Rights Watch accused the Chinese government of carrying out a "systematic campaign of human rights violations" against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.