The former Malaysian prime minister said today that Muslims have the right to “kill millions of French people”, shortly after a man armed with a knife launched a deadly attack in Nice.
Mahathir Mohamad, who was Prime Minister of the predominantly Muslim Malaysia until his government collapsed in February, launched his extraordinary explosion after three people were killed in a church in the latest terror attack aimed at sowing misery in France.
The 95-year-old politician said he did not approve of the beheading of a French teacher for sharing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, but said free speech did not include “insulting others”.
“Regardless of what religion they profess, angry people kill,” said Mahathir, who has sparked controversy for his comments on Jews and LGBT people in the past.
‘The French throughout their history [have] killed millions of people. Many were Muslims.
In a tweet that has since been deleted for breaking website rules, Mahathir continued, “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past. “
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, pictured in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, said Muslims “have a right to be angry and kill millions of French people”
Deleted: Twitter deleted Mahathir’s most provocative post about ‘killing millions of French people’
Mahathir went on to say that “on the whole” Muslims did not apply the “eye for an eye” principle.
“Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead, the French should teach their people to respect the feelings of others, ”he said.
Mahathir, who has served as Malaysian prime minister twice for a total of 24 years, said Frenchman Emmanuel Macron was “very primitive” and “did not show he was civilized.”
“The French should teach their people to respect the feelings of others,” he said.
“Since you blamed all Muslims and the religion of Muslims for what was done by an angry person, Muslims have the right to punish the French.
“The boycott cannot make up for the wrongs committed by the French all these years.
Mahathir’s most provocative tweet about the murder of “millions of French”. was removed because he broke Twitter rules, according to the website.
The former prime minister made no direct reference to the Nice attack, but his comments come against a backdrop of widespread anger against France in the Islamic world.
The beheading of the professor, Samuel Paty, prompted Macron to promise a crackdown on Islamic extremism.
Macron and others have also launched a fierce defense of freedom of expression and the right to make fun of religion.
But the move has inflamed tensions, with protests against France erupting in several Muslim countries and some urging a boycott of French products.
Police block a cordon near the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption basilica in Nice today after a knife killed three people at the church
The two recent attacks are the latest in a long series of terrorist attacks in France in recent years, including the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015.
French politicians have aligned themselves to demand tougher action against Islamist terrorism today after the triple murder in Nice.
French counterterrorism prosecutors have opened an investigation into what the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, called an “Islamo-fascist attack”.
Estrosi said today that “enough is enough … now is the time for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to permanently eliminate Islamo-fascism from our country”.
One of Macron’s party colleagues called for a “total mobilization” against extremism in what another called a “war the Islamists are waging against our nation”.
Macron’s Prime Minister Jean Castex said France’s alert level had been raised to its highest level of “emergency attack” after today’s violence.
In the hours following the Nice attack, a gunman was shot dead by police in Paris while a cutler was arrested for attacking a guard at a French consulate in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking in parliament, where he had previously spoken of France’s new lockdown, Castex said the Nice attack was “as cowardly as it is barbaric”.