Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has sparked an uproar by claiming that Muslims have “a right to be angry and kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past”.
The comments appeared on the 95-year-old’s blog on Thursday evening as part of Mahathir’s response to calls from Muslim nations to boycott French products. Twitter has since removed one of the elder statesman’s tweets containing his latest remarks after deeming it violated its rules. Earlier, it left the tweet accessible “in the public interest”.
Cédric O, France’s junior digital affairs minister, said he spoke with the managing director of Twitter in his country and called for the immediate suspension of Mahathir’s official account. “If not, Twitter would be an accomplice to murder,” the minister wrote on the social media platform.
Mahathir’s post was immediately criticised by both foreign and local audiences, many of whom said he was encouraging violence.
“Since you have blamed all Muslims and their 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, in an apparent reference to French colonialism
“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.”