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Mesut Ozil, 'praying for Muslims of India', slams 'shameful situation'

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 27: New transfer of Fenerbahce, Mesut Ozil makes a speech as he attends the signing ceremony after he was transferred from Arsenal at Faruk Ilgaz Facilities in Istanbul, Turkey on January 27, 2021. ( Serhat Çağdaş - Anadolu Agency )
New transfer of Fenerbahce, Mesut Ozil makes a speech as he attends the signing ceremony after he was transferred from Arsenal at Faruk Ilgaz Facilities in Istanbul, Turkey on January 27, 2021. [Serhat Çağdaş - Anadolu Agency]

German-Turkish footballer Mesut Ozil has taken to twitter to spread awareness of the plight of India's Muslims who face persecution in the Hindu-majority country.

Yesterday, on one of the final ten days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the former Real Madrid and Arsenal player called on the international community to "break the silence" on what is happening in India. He added that he is praying for the safety and well-being of the country's substantial Muslim minority.

Describing the "shameful situation", Ozil raised the issue of human rights in the "so-called largest democracy in the world". His tweet, which includes an image of Delhi's Mughal-era Jama Masjid at dusk when the faithful break their fast, has since garnered almost 80,000 likes.

Ozil's intervention comes amid the growing persecution of India's 200 million Muslims, which includes calls by influential extremists for genocidal violence as well as sexual violence against Muslim women and girls.

OPINION: This anti-Muslim hate campaign is tearing India apart

Last week, Hindus for Human Rights issued a statement signed by Hindu leaders from around the world expressing dismay over "anti-Muslim hate". The signatories criticised Hindutva, "A century-old political ideology [of the ruling party] that sees citizens of other faiths as inherently foreign and not qualified to enjoy the full benefits of Indian citizenship."

They added that, "We have seen Muslim women put up for 'auction' on an app created by college students, and hijab-wearing Muslim girls being denied their right to equal education in Karnataka."

This is not the first time that Ozil has been vocal about human rights issues affecting Muslim minorities. In 2019, the 33-year-old criticised China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims which caused a backlash against him. His club at the time, Arsenal, distanced itself from his comments, stating that it "does not [get involved] in politics".

Such a position, however, has not stopped Arsenal from joining other clubs, organisations and brands in voicing support for Ukraine following Russia's invasion. The North London club has been accused of hypocrisy given its previous "no involvement in politics" claim and lack of backing for its former player.

"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," tweeted Ozil earlier this month.

READ: 'Please sir mention India', Hindutva Twitter reacts to Netanyahu snub

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