Russian hockey veteran Andrei Rychagov has warned that UFC Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s angry outburst against Emmanuel Macron could lead to violence, calling his response to the French leader’s remarks on terrorism “wild”.
The highly experienced Rychagov, who played more than 700 games in the Russian VHL professional league before joining French club Chamonix in August, said Nurmagomedov that his angry post about Macron on his numerous social media outlets was dangerous.
Nurmagomedov called Macron “scum” and asked “the Almighty” to “distort” the French president for defending the right of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
“I believe that a person who is known by millions and who has come such a long and difficult sporting path has a great responsibility for everything he says or does,” warned Rychagov in an interview with sport.ru (via translation).
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“You have to be more careful with your statements and actions, especially when it comes to words that can lead to violence or the like.
“In my opinion this is wrong.”
France’s terror alert level was raised to a maximum earlier this month following the murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by a radicalized Chechen refugee outside Paris.
Paty had shown school children a picture of one of the cartoons from the magazine to investigate freedom of expression and was subsequently posthumously awarded the highest medal of honor in the country.
“The situation has to be viewed from several angles,” said the 38-year-old Rychagov center.
“Including from [the perspective of] People who have lost loved ones. For what?
“Just because a person decided it was right and their religion promotes it? It’s wild for me.”
Nurmagomedov first posted a photo of Macron with a shoe stain embossed on his face and re-posted on Instagram Saturday to explain his anger at his more than 25 million followers.
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“They not only insulted the feelings of Muslim believers, but also challenged the Lord of the Worlds, who promised to protect his messenger from attacks by ignorant people,” wrote the fighter, who announced his resignation after a week of success had defended easy title earlier.
“May Allah unleash his punishment for anyone who interferes with the honor of the best of people – the Prophet Muhammad.”
The controversy has divided politicians and athletes. Malaga President Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani was one of those who furiously made threats against Macron, while former Russian presidential candidate Kseniya Sobchak referred to the French leader as “my hero” and also suggested that Nurmagomedov’s response might provoke violence.
English icon David Beckham and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema joined millions of others in supporting Nurmagomedov’s words by liking them on Instagram.
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