A professional footballer who plays for German champions Bayern Munich has faced calls to be expelled from the country after promoting content on social media calling for the annihilation of Israel.
Noussair Mazraoui, a 25-year-old Dutch-Morrocan national who pledged his allegiance to the Morroco national team, sparked outrage with a pro-Palestinian post on Instagram.
In a video shared by Mazraoui, a voiceover said, “God, help our oppressed brothers in Palestine to achieve victory. May God give grace to the dead, may God heal their wounded.”
In addition, the Morrocan footballer shared a link to a website that advocates the destruction of the state of Israel, and posted the Quranic verse: “And do not think that Allah is heedless of what those who commit injustice do. It only holds them back until the day when their eyes will be frozen in horror.”
The remarks are likely to cause friction with David Peretz, a 23-year-old Israeli goalkeeper who joined the German champions in the summer from Maccabi Tel Aviv and has himself published content on social media expressing sympathy for the Israeli civilians slaughtered by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, which sparked the latest flare-up in the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
In response to the comments, several lawmakers from the opposition center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party called for Bayern to sack Mazraoui and for authorities to expel him from Germany.
“Dear FC Bayern, please throw him out immediately. In addition, all state options should be used to expel him from Germany,” wrote CDU MP Johannes Steiniger on X, formerly Twitter.
“I hope FC Bayern draws conclusions! Anyone who sympathizes with Hamas’ terrible terrorist attacks on Israel has no place in Germany,” added party colleague and fellow Bundestag member Christoph Ploß.
Ich hoffe, der @FCBayern zieht Konsequenzen! Wer Verständnis für die furchtbaren Terrorangriffe der Hamas auf Israel hat, hat in Deutschland nichts zu suchen! #WeStandWithIsrael https://t.co/PJNQQlQq0B— Christoph Ploß 🇩🇪🇺🇦 (@christophploss) October 15, 2023
Mazraoui has since issued a statement following the widespread criticism of his behavior, claiming he had never intended to offend anyone.
“First of all, I would like to say that it is really disappointing that I have to explain what I stand for. There is a situation out there where thousands of innocent people are being murdered. My position is that I will work for peace and justice in this world. This means that I will always be against all kinds of terrorism, hatred, and violence. And that’s something I will always stand behind,” the Morrocan footballer wrote.
“That’s why I don’t understand why people think the opposite about me and why I’m associated with hateful groups. Today is not about what I think or what you think, innocent people are being killed every day by this terrible conflict that has gotten out of hand. We all need to be against it and speak out against it. This is just inhumane,” he added.
“Finally, I would like to make it clear that it was never my intention to offend or hurt anyone, consciously or unconsciously,” Mazraoui concluded.
Bayern Munich has refused to comment on the matter.