The German football club Mainz 05 has terminated the contract of Anwar El Ghazi over social media posts related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a statement on Friday, Mainz said that El Ghazi’s deal had been ended due to “comments and posts from the player on social media” without offering further information.
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El Ghazi, 28, was previously suspended by the club over a since-deleted post about the conflict in the Middle East, but was allowed to return to practice earlier this week.
“Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone,” El Ghazi said in a social media post after his termination.
“The loss of my livelihood is nothing when compared to the hell being unleashed on the innocent and vulnerable in Gaza,” he said.
— Anwar El Ghazi (@elghazi1995) November 3, 2023
In a social media post on October 27, he had clarified that “to the extent my previous statements on social media have been misunderstood, I would like to make clear that I stand for peace and humanity for all”.
Mainz said on Monday they lifted the suspension and were giving him a second chance, saying he spoke out against terrorism of all kinds, including from Hamas, and also did not question Israel’s right to exist.
However, in a further social media post on Wednesday, El Ghazi indicated that the club had issued its statement without his permission.
“I do not regret or have any remorse for my position,” the player wrote. “I do not distance myself from what I said and I stand, today and always until my last breath, for humanity and the oppressed.”
He posted another statement in which he condemned “the killing of all innocent civilians in Palestine and Israel”.
“There can never be any justification for the killing of over 3,500 children in Gaza in the last three weeks….I and we as a world cannot conscionably (sic) remain silent. We must call for an end to the killing in Gaza now,” the post adds.
Prior to El Ghazi’s termination on Friday, German prosecutors accused him of “disturbing public peace by condoning criminal acts in conjunction with incitement to hatred” through his social media posts.