ANKARA — Anwar El Ghazi, a Dutch winger of Moroccan descent, has taken legal action against Mainz for being dismissed by the German club over a pro-Palestine social media post, Anadolu Agency cited a German media report Wednesday.
Bild reported that El Ghazi, 28, is suing Mainz after the German Bundesliga club terminated his contract earlier in November following a post on his Instagram story in which he expressed his support for the Palestinian people amid the Israel war on Gaza.
El Ghazi was originally suspended by Mainz on 17 October, following a social media post which included the controversial phrase “from the river to the sea”, a pro-Palestinian message which critics say implies the destruction of Israel.
But that interpretation is disputed by some pro-Palestinian activists who say that most people chanting it are calling for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza, not the destruction of Israel itself.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is a Palestinian slogan that refers to the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Mainz said El Ghazi’s post “took a position on the conflict in the Middle East in a manner that wasn’t tolerable for the club”.
However, the Bundesliga club came out with a statement “Given his commitment to upholding the club’s values and the remorse shown, and in keeping with the club’s culture of using mistakes as an opportunity to learn, El Ghazi will return to training and matchday-related activities.”
Stand for what is right
El Ghazi subsequently revealed, however, that he had not authorised the club’s statement confirming his return, saying: “I do not distance myself from what I said and stand for humanity and on the side of the oppressed until the last day I breathe.”
The German club then terminated his contract with immediate effect on 2 November “in response to the player’s statements and posts on social media.”
He later responded to the termination of his contract on X, writing “Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone.”
“The loss of my livelihood is nothing when compared to the hell being unleashed on the innocent and vulnerable in Gaza.”
Before Mainz, El Ghazi played for Dutch club Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, England’s Aston Villa and Everton, and France’s Lille. — Malaysiaxpress