Social media platform Twitter has removed a tweet by Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in which he claimed that “Muslim have a right to kill millions of French”, following a knife attack in the French city of Nice on Thursday (29 October) that resulted in the death of three people.
France24 reported that the knife attack has been described as “an act of terrorism” by the city’s mayor, as a knife-wielding attacker had allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before perpetrating the deadly attack.
Just a few hours after the attack, Dr Mahathir, wrote a series of tweets. The tweets later attracted controversy and backlash from the public.
In one of his tweets, he mentioned that the French in the course of their history has killed millions of people in which many were Muslims.
“Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”
“But by and large the Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead, the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings,” he wrote.
The single tweet about “killing millions of French” was flagged by Twitter as “glorifying violence” initially, but was deleted shortly afterwards, and replaced with the message “This tweet violated the Twitter Rules.”
In his tweet thread, Dr Mahathir said that the killing of a French teacher Samuel Paty, who allegedly showed a caricature of Prophet Muhammad in the class as part of a lesson on free speech, “is not an act that as a Muslim he would approve”.
“But while I believe in the freedom of expression, I do not think it includes insulting other people,” he said.
He also lambasted French President Emmanuel Macron for “not showing that he is civilised” and being “very primitive in blaming the religion of Islam and Muslims for the killing of the insulting school teacher”.
“It is not in keeping with the teachings of Islam. But irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill,” Dr Mahathir claimed.
“Since you have blamed all Muslims and the Muslims’ religion for what was done by one angry person, the Muslims have a right to punish the French. The boycott cannot compensate the wrongs committed by the French all these years,” he wrote.
But irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill. The French in the course of their history has killed millions of people. Many were Muslims.
— Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) October 29, 2020
Responding to Dr Mahathir’s remark, France’s Secretary of State for the Digital Economy Cedric O said in a tweet that he has urged the Managing Director of Twitter France to immediately suspend Dr Mahathir’s official account.
He then added that if Twitter does not do so, it “would be an accomplice to a formal call for murder”.
— Cédric O (@cedric_o) October 29, 2020