Arsenal's Mesut Ozil donates $100,000 to feed Muslims in Somalia, Syria, Turkey during Ramadan

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil donates $100,000 to feed Muslims in Somalia, Syria, Turkey during Ramadan
Footballer and philanthropist Mesut Ozil has donated enough money to provide iftar packages to some 16,000 Muslims observing Ramadan in Somalia, Syria and Turkey.
3 min read
04 May, 2020
Ozil is widely known for his charitable donations [Getty]
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has donated $100,000 to Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, reports confirmed on Monday.

The German footballer's generous donation will provide assistance through the Turkish Red Crescent to aid some 16,000 Muslims who are fasting during daylight hours this Ramadan.

Some 2,000 iftar packages are expected to be donated to families across Syria and Turkey, where millions of refugees have been displaced due to the conflict.

Meanwhile, 90,000 iftar packages will be distributed in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Turkey's Anadolu Agency reported.

"At the Red Crescent, we stand by those in need 365 days a year," the charity’s Kerem Kinik said.

"Of course, we do this thanks to donations made by philanthropist friends who follow our work. As donations increase, we will be able to reach even more people in need.

"Thanks to our brother Mesut, we will be able to deliver packages provided to people in need - delivering them as soon as possible."

The footballer, who previously played for Germany's national football team before iconically retiring due to rampant racism and discrimination in 2018, is now deemed to be one of Arsenal's top earning players, after signing for £42.5million from Real Madrid six years ago.

Last week, Ozil faced criticism for refusing to take a pay cut amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the Muslim footballer is widely known for his philanthropy and charitable donations.

Last year, Ozil and his wife Amine Gulse marked their wedding day festivities with a charitable donation that provided 1,000 children to have life changing surgeries. 

Ozil asked wedding guests to donate to charity which funds operations for children who suffer from burns, club feet and cleft lip and palate in developing countries, rather than buy the couple gifts.

Read also: Ozil's departure raises larger questions about identity and immigration

"Many fans have asked me, my close relatives and friends about our wishes for tomorrow's wedding," the Arsenal midfielder wrote in an Instagram post.

"As a professional footballer I am in a fortunate and privileged position. However, I invite everyone who is willing and able to help to support a very special project close to both of our hearts."

He then announced: "Amine and I will bear the expenses for surgeries of 1,000 children in need."

The 30-year-old German footballer, who has Turkish family roots, sparked controversy last year when he was photographed with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raising questions about the footballer's loyalty to Germany on the eve of their disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.

After 92 appearances for Germany, including a key role in the 2014 World Cup victory, Ozil suddenly quit the national squad last July.

Germany's early defeat in the 2018 World Cup led to Ozil receiving hate mail, threats and widespread media criticism. 

Ozil announced his resignation from the national squad thereafter, saying: "I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose."

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab