Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe has defended himself after coming under fire for “liking” Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Instagram post in which he heavily criticized French President Emmanuel Macron.
Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, has published several articles in a dispute over religion and freedom of speech after two terrorist attacks in France, including one in which he posted a picture of Macron with a boot print on his face.
“May the Almighty disfigure the face of this scum and all its followers who, under the motto of freedom of expression, offend the feelings of more than a billion and a half Muslim believers. May the Almighty humiliate them in this life and in the next. Allah calculates quickly and you will see, ”wrote the UFC lightweight champion.
In another post, the Russian said: “May Allah unleash his punishment for anyone who interferes with the honor of [the Prophet Muhammad]. “
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The footballer was reportedly one of several French players who “liked” the latter message, along with Karim Benzema, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ricardo Faty and Mamadou Sakho, as well as Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic and the former Manchester United and star Real Madrid, David Beckham.
This post by Khabib (translated) is liked by 5 players who play (Kimpembe) or have played (Benzema, Sakho, Bakayoko, Faty) in the French team; Pjanic, Bosnian player, trained in France and played in L1 for 5 years; Atal, nice player who didn’t respond to the attack on the church. pic.twitter.com/KirGu86itg
– Karen Adhar (areKarenAdhar), October 31, 2020
Kimpembe, who has been criticized for this, tweeted Saturday saying he did not want to be drawn into politics and suggested that there may have been a linguistic misunderstanding as well.
“I play sports, not politics,” he said. “I don’t speak Russian either. I strongly condemn terrorism, all forms of violence without reservation and all repulsive attempts at manipulation. “
I play sports, not politics. I don’t speak Russian either. I strongly condemn terrorism, all forms of violence without reservation and all repulsive attempts at manipulation.
– Presnel Kimpembe (@ kimpembe_3) October 31, 2020
Nurmagomedov struck Macron after defending the right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad – something strictly forbidden in Islamic tradition – after teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in Paris in early October.
Paty had shown his students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a free speech class.
On Thursday, three people were killed in Nice in a knife stab that Macron – who raised the country’s terror warning to “maximum” – described as an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
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In September, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo re-published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which resulted in their being targeted in a 2015 terrorist attack that killed 12 people.
The 25-year-old Kimpembe came through youth at PSG and has since played 149 games for the club. He won four Ligue 1 titles, Coupes de France and Coupes de la Ligue apiece.
The center-back has played 11 games for the French national team, one of them during the successful 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.