Frauke Petry, leader of the German far right anti-immigration party slammed Mesut Ozil recent pilgrimage to Makkah on May 22 (Photo: Mesut Ozil/Twitter)
German footballer Mesut Ozil faced criticism from the German far right groups for refusing to sing the national anthem during a friendly exhibition match.
Leader of the German far right anti-immigration party ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD), Frauke Petry, criticised the player and stated: “It’s a shame that Mesut Ozil, someone who so many children and young people identify with, does not sing the national anthem.”
Commenting on Ozil’s recent pilgrimage to Makkah on May 22, Petry accused the practicing Muslim, who is often photographed praying before games, of being a hypocrite as “He doesn’t live according to the rules of the Sharia” and also due to his association with women who do not wear an hijab.
The Head of the AfD in Saxony-Anhalt stated that Ozil’s visit to Makkah sent out ‘an anti-patriotic signal’.
Petry also suggested that Ozil was trying to promote a political agenda of putting his religion of Islam, which the AfD view as unconstitutional, before German identity through performing a religious pilgrimage but refusing to sing the German national anthem.
Ozil, a third generation German of Turkish descent, is not alone in refusing to sing the national anthem. German players, irrespective of ethnicity, descent and religion, have not strongly established tradition of singing along to the German national anthem.
In the past non-Muslims such as Lucas Podolski and Jerome Boateng have refrained from singing the national anthem.
The attack on Ozil has come a week after AfD Vice Chair, Alexander Gauland, provoked outrage by stating German people would not want Boateng (a German of Ghanaian descent) to be their neighbour.
The AfD anti-immigration policies are widely seen to be behind the party’s unprecedented success as demonstrated by the recent German regional elections in which 24.2% of the votes in Saxony-Anhalt and 15.1% of the votes in Baden-Württemberg were won by AfD. This is the best result a far right party has had since the Second World War.
Petry suggested that the rise of the AfD is due to the failures German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, particularly in the Chancellor’s stance on immigration and the refugee crisis.