Arsenal's Mesut Ozil calls to 'disarm Islamophobia with kindness'
"Unfortunately Islamophobia & Antiislamismus [Anti-islamism] is growing in Europe and in other parts of the world with media playing a big role in that," Ozil, a Turkish-origin German and practising Muslim, wrote on Twitter.
"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," Ozil, who plays for Arsenal, said.
The footballer formerly played for Germany's national football team before retiring citing racism and discrimination in 2018.
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His comments came as a mosque in Germany was targeted by racists amid heightened tensions between europe and its muslim communities. The attackers plastered Islamophobic posters on its walls, calling on 'foreigners' to leave the country.
Also a philanthropist, Ozil has previously donated money to muslim charities delivering iftar packages to Somalia, Syria and Turkey, and has funded surgeries for children.
The 32-year-old, who reportedly earns £350,000 ($470,000) per week at the Emirates Stadium, is the highest-paid player in Arsenal's history.