Malaysia’s former prime minister on Wednesday, October 29, said that Muslims have the right “to kill millions of French people”, shortly after a knife-wielding Islamist killed three people in a Church in Nice.
Mahathir Mohamad, who lost power in February this year, said freedom of expression does not include “insulting other people” as anger over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed sweeps the Islamic world.
The 95-year-old politician said he did not approve of the beheading of a French school teacher for sharing caricatures of the Prophet, but added that, “Irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill”.
“The French in the course of their history [have] killed millions of people. Many were Muslims,” he said in a tweet that has since been removed for violating the website’s rules.
Mahathir continued: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”
The Malaysian politician said that “by and large”, Muslims have not applied the principle of “eye for an eye”.
“Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead, the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings,” Mahathir, who has drawn controversy for comments about Jews and LGBT people in the past, added.
Mahathir, who served as Malaysian premier twice for a total of 24 years, said that French President Emmanuel Macron was “very primitive” and “not showing that he is civilised”.
Mahathir’s statement came after three people were stabbed to death – two of them beheaded – at a church in the city of Nice by a knifeman shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The knifeman was later shot 14 times and wounded by armed police.
Following Mahathir’s statement, France’s digital minister, Cédric O demanded that Twitter bans Mahathir from its platform.
Cédric O said he told the managing director of the social media giant in France that his account “must be immediately suspended.”
Mr O tweeted on Thursday. “If not, @twitter would be an accomplice to a formal call for murder.”