Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia sparked uproar with his response to the French leader Emmanuel Macron by claiming that Muslims have the right to be "angry and kill millions of French people" for the massacres of the past.
The 95-year-old wrote such outrageous comments in his Twitter account on Thursday evening, October 29 after reports stated that an attacker with a knife killed three people, including a woman who was decapitated, at a church in Nice. The remarks were part of Mahathir's response to calls from Muslim countries to boycott French products.
Even though within a span of few hours Mahathir made a series of tweets on the social media platform including the communal hate tweet, the microblogging platform has since deemed one of those tweets containing his latest remarks as it has violated twitter's rules.
Mahathir Faces Criticism
This month, Muslim countries have been angered by Macron's remarks while describing Islam as a religion "in crisis". The plans of French leaders to crack down on radicalism following the murder of the teacher who showed his students cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed also caused outrage among the Muslim nations.
But Mahathir's post made many people uncomfortable, while many netizens said that he was trying to encourage the violence. One of them wrote, "To my brother, sisters, and friend in #Malaysia: I understand Mahathir, with his hatred, does not represent your views neither the heads your state anymore. But I hope the Malaysian Gov takes stern action on this incitement. This is surely not a way to defend the Prophet."
Andrew Goledzinowski, Australia's ambassador in Malaysia was among the more than 24,000 people who have responded to the controversial remark and wrote that "I am deeply disturbed by this statement from Tun Dr. Mahathir. I know that he has not, and would not, advocated actual violence. But in the current climate, words can have consequences."
Mahathir's controversial remarks came as reports said that a man with a knife armed with a knife killed at least three people at the church in France's Nice—an act which the city's mayor said was motivated by extremism. He also said that the culprit kept chanting "Allahu akbar" which means God is Great even when he was under medication after becoming injured during the arrest.
The killing of the teacher, who showed his class a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, prompted Macron to announce plans to combat radical Islam including placing mosques in the country under greater security. His plans caused tension among Muslim countries with calls for a boycott of French items.