EXCLUSIVE: Paul Pogba will NOT quit the French football team in retaliation to statements by French president Emmanuel Macron alleging that Islam was the source of international terrorism
- Sportsmail understands Paul Pogba has no intentions of quitting France team
- It was reported that Pogba ‘resigned’ from international football with France
- The claim originated in various news reports in the Middle East
- It was alleged he resents comments by French president Emmanuel Macron
- Macron spoke in the wake of the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, 47
- Mr Paty had shown schoolchildren a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad
- He was then beheaded in what Macron called an ‘Islamic terrorist attack’
- Manchester United midfielder Pogba, 27, is a convert to Islam
- He helped France win the World Cup in 2018 and is one of the team’s star players
Paul Pogba is NOT quitting international football as a retaliation to statements by French president Emmanuel Macron alleging that Islam was the source of international terrorism.
According to various Middle Eastern news sources, the Manchester United star – who is a Muslim – ‘resigned’ after the comments made by Macron in a highly-controversial speech on Friday.
But Sportsmail understands Pogba has no intentions of quitting the France international team.
Paul Pogba reportedly quit playing for France over president Emmanuel Macron’s comments over fighting Islamic separatism – but Sportsmail understands that this is not his intention
Pogba, a convert to Islam, posted this picture of him visiting Mecca on Instagram in 2019
Pogba is pictured with Macron (second left) after France won the World Cup in 2018; the president’s recent comments, in which he said ‘we should attack Islamist separatism’, were criticised by some for allegedly stigmatising France’s Muslim population
And on Monday morning, Pogba took to Instagram to let his followers know that the initial reports were false – writing on his story: ‘Unacceptable. Fake news.’
Macron’s comments came after French teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was murdered on his way home from the junior high school he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris.
The French government bestowed the country’s highest honour on the teacher, who had shown images of the prophet Muhammad to schoolchildren in his class before being attacked.
Macron described the murder as an ‘Islamic terrorist attack’ that took the life of the French teacher and later added: ‘Unity and firmness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism.’
Pogba’s supposed resignation from France side was said to be motivated by Macron’s comments.
It was also alleged in the reports from the Middle East that Pogba, who converted to Islam in his 20s, also resented the French government’s decision to bestow the country’s highest honour on Mr Paty.
He was awarded the French Legion d’honneur in recognition of the fact that he died trying to explain the importance of freedom of speech.
The report claimed that Pogba considered the decision as an insult to him and to French Muslims, especially since Islam is the second religion in France after Christianity. There are an estimated six million Muslims in the country.
Pogba kisses the World Cup after helping his nation to glory in Russia in 2018
Calls are growing meanwhile around the world for people to boycott French goods in the wake of the president’s comments accusing Muslims of separatism. He also pledged that France would ‘not to give up our cartoons’ depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Earlier this month, Macron announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called ‘Islamist separatism’ in France, which has strong secular values. Macron said France’s Muslims were in danger of forming a ‘counter-society’.
Macron’s comments have also sparked an international diplomatic incident, with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing his counterpart of ‘needing treatment on a mental level’ for pledging to fight Islamic radicalism.
France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after Erdogan’s insult.
The Manchester United midfielder has said converting to Islam has made him a better person
THE BEHEADING OF SAMUEL PATY
Schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday 16 October 16 by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov.
Prior to his death, Mr Paty had received threats after he had showed pupils in his class cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on October 6.
Mr Paty had been teaching the children about free speech. His death follows the 2015 terrorist attack at the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published on its cover a cartoon of Muhammad. Twelve people were killed and 11 injured by gunmen.
French president Emmanuel Macron said at Mr Paty’s funeral:
‘He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic. He was killed because the Islamists want our future.
‘They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.’
Mr Paty, a history and geography teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris, had advised Muslim students to look away if they thought they might be offended before showing the class the cartoon.
Islamic tradition explicitly prohibits images of both Allah and the prophet Muhammad, so such images are highly offensive to Muslims.
He has been posthumously awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour.
Anzorov, was shot dead by police after killing Mr Paty. He was born in Moscow and his family is from Chechnya, a region of Russia with a Muslim-majority population. He had lived in France since 2008.
French prosecutors have said that there is a ‘direct causal link’ between Mr Paty’s death and an organised hate campaign against him.
The campaign was allegedly launched by the 48-year-old father of one of his pupils. The man is accused of issuing a ‘fatwa’ against the teacher, and is alleged to have exchanged texts with Anzorov before the murder.
Prosecutors say Anzorov paid two teenage students around €300 (£270) to identify Mr Paty before killing him.
In 2019, Pogba revealed why he converted to Islam – insisting that doing so has made him become a better person.
Asked what being a Muslim meant to him in The Times’ new Life Times podcast, Pogba said: ‘It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything.
‘It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside.
‘It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
‘Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else, it’s something beautiful.
‘You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam.’
After being approached for comment on Pogba, the French Football Federation said they have no information on the matter.
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