A week in racist football news – The Ungerman national team and Özil the muslim

The German politician Alexander Gauland was at the end of a media shitstorm when he decided to state in an interview that many Germans wouldn’t like to live next door to Jerome Boateng. However, after the media had a field day at the cost of the Alternative for Germany(AfD) politician, the 75-year-old decided to offer an apology. Gauland stated that he wasn’t aware of the fact that Boateng in fact was German and not a muslim. Reading between the lines, Gauland must have thought that Boateng’s blackness must mean that he was born in the jungle.

National team “no longer German”

However, after his somewhat weird apology, which was seemingly less planned than Bristol Palin’s pregnancies, Gauland decided to go on the offensive again. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel the 75-year-old vice chair of the AfD decided to attack the German national team in its entirety. First off Gauland claimed that football was more about money and not anymore about national pride.

The fact that a quarter of the World Cup winning team had a migrant background isn’t a fitting symbol for German integration policy working according to Gauland. In his mind the country isn’t as multi cultural as some people would have you believe, as the people of Germany are “very much connected to the country, its tradition and history”. Given his statements one might wonder how much Gauland actually has learned of his country’s historic past…

For Gauland the national team doesn’t represent Germany anymore, but the”people are watching the football because they are entertained by it” according to the politician.

Özil – The man who dares to be a muslim

Germany’s football bigot in chief wasn’t done running off his mouth after he had labelled the national team as a bunch of unpatriotic money grabbing gold diggers. After Gauland’s misplaced criticism of Jerome Boateng, the 75-year-old made sure to go after one of the national team players who actually is a muslim. Mesut Özil was at the end of the AfD politician’s wrath. Özil’s trip to Mecca was something his party needed “to get used to” according to Gauland, who stated that his party doesn’t consider Islam to be part of Germany.

After the first punch had been placed, Gauland decided to put Özil’s trip to Mecca into a different context. Somehow this benign religious trip has caused some concern within the 75-year-old, who stated that he finds it acceptable if footballers go on religious trips to Mecca, but that he’d be less willing to grant other people same rights:

“(If we are talking about) employees of the government, teachers, politicians and people who make decisions, I’d be quick to ask: Is somebody, who goes to Mecca, at the right place within the German democracy? Does his loyalty belong to the German constitution, or does it belong to political Islam?”

The fact that many muslims living in Germany working within the positions named by Gauland have been to Mecca has apparently escaped the man who has seemingly been vaccinated against digesting facts. There are currently 4 million muslims living in Germany and the vast majority have been law abiding citizens, despite Gauland’s and his party’s claims of the islam not belonging to Germany.

After the criticism of Boateng the AfD party leader Frauke Petry decided to go against her colleague in the media, but this time around Gauland’s criticisms have been approved by the 41-year-old politician. In an interview with WamS Petry states about Özil:

“It’s a shame that Mesut Özil, who is figure many kids and young people identify with, doesn’t sing the national anthem.”

After talking about Özil’s life style and his religion, Petry went on to state that she considers Islam to be “incompatible with the German constitution”. As it so happens the German constitution grants freedom of religion and muslim immigrants have been a vital part of making Germany what it is after the second world war.

The party that claims to be fond of the German constitution and German history apparently knows very little about those things, as it turns out…

Header photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.