Mesut Özil, Arsenal

Mesut Özil: best response to attacks on Islam is kindness

“Unfortunately Islamophobia & Anti Islam is growing in Europe and in other parts of the world with media playing a big role in that”, said Özil.

Mesut Özil, a German footballer of Turkish immigrant descent who left the German national team in 2018 after suffering a wave of racist and xenophobic attacks for taking a photo with Erdoğan, has called on the Muslim world to respond to the growing attacks on Islam and to Islamophobia with kindness, quoting a verse from the Quran.

In messages published through his official Twitter account on November 20, Özil pointed out that “Unfortunately Islamophobia & Antiislamismus (anti Islam) is growing in Europe and in other parts of the world with media playing a big role in that.”

“My personal answer to that: We should respond to Islamophobia & Antiislamismus in a way that will not reinforce it, but rather disarm and silence it with kindness,” added the 31-year-old Arsenal midfielder on his Twitter account. To reinforce his idea, he quoted an ayah (verse) from the Quran itself:

“Good and evil cannot be equal. Respond to evil with what is best, then the one you are in a feud with will be like a close friend.” – The Quran (41:34)

Last October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan harshly criticised several European leaders and especially French President Emmanuel Macron for his attacks on Islam and for using Islamophobia and xenophobia as a tool to win votes among certain sectors of the public. Erdoğan, who even said of Macron that he needed “mental treatment”, called on the Turks to join the boycott campaign of French products launched in other Muslim countries.