Arsene Wenger says, “Mesut Ozil has a right to express his opinion” but does not speak for Arsenal in his criticism of China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.

Midfielder Ozil is a Muslim. He called Uighurs, “warriors who resist persecution” and at the same time criticized both China and the silence of Muslims in response.  

Arsenal responded and said the club is “apolitical” and China’s foreign ministry claimed Ozil was “deceived by fake news.”

“What he says is about himself and not Arsenal,” Said the former boss, Wenger.

“Mesut Ozil has freedom of speech like everyone else. He uses his notoriety to express his opinions which are not necessarily shared by everybody.”

“What’s important is that Ozil has an individual responsibility. He doesn’t have to carry the word of the Arsenal Football Club. When you comment on your individual opinion you accept the consequences of it.”

Rights group said Muslims from the Uighur community are thought to have been detained without trial in high-security prison camps.

China has consistently denied mistreating Uighur Muslims in the country and says they are being educated in “vocational training centers” to combat violent religious extremism.

Secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain Harun Khan said Ozil’s actions were “hugely commendable.” He further described “Arsenal’s decision to distance themselves from the 31-year-old German’s views as “regrettable.”

“Arteta is intelligent, he has passion and knowledge.”

The Frenchman, Wenger, got his first job in football since leaving Arsenal in May 2018 in November.

After stepping down as Arsenal’s boss, Emery was at the helm for 18 months before his dismissal. The club is now in search for a new manager with Freddie Ljungberg in temporary charge.

Man City’s coach, Mikel Arteta has had communications with senior Arsenal figures. In this case, Wenger thinks the Spaniard is a good choice as long as he gets the right support.

“He is intelligent, he has passion and knowledge. But so, does Ljungberg.” Said Wenger.

“Mikel Arteta has a great future. He learned a lot in his position as the assistant coach.”

“He will have to deal with the fact that he has no experience at that level and have to be surrounded by a good environment at the club.”