Emmanuel Macron is primitive in blaming Islam; Muslims have right to be angry: Ex-Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad

4 weeks ago 7

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday hit out at French President Emmanuel Macron saying he is "not showing that he is civilised".

"He (Macron) is 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. The French in the course of their history has killed millions of people. Many were Muslims," Mahathir Mohamad said.

In a series of tweets, Mahathir Mohamad said Muslims "have a right" to be angry and "kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past".

His comments come soon after a knife-wielding attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar" beheaded a woman and killed two other people at a church in the French city of Nice.

Mahathir Mohamad said while he does not approve of the killing, but the freedom of expression "does not include insulting others".

"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," the former Malaysian prime minister said.

He however later deleted this tweet following severe backlash and criticism.

Within hours of the Nice attack, police killed a man who had threatened passersby with a handgun in Montfavet, near the southern French city of Avignon. He was also shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest), according to radio station Europe, Reuters reported.

Nice's mayor, Christian Estrosi, said the attack in his city had happened in or near Notre Dame church and was similar to the beheading earlier this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class.

The attacks on Thursday, on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, came at a time of growing Muslim anger at France's defence of the right to publish the cartoons, and protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Nice attack in his tweets, Mahathir Mohamad said, "The killing is not an act that as a Muslim I would approve. But while I believe in the freedom of expression, I do not think it includes insulting other people. You cannot go up to a man and curse him simply because you believe in freedom of speech."

Giving the example of Malaysia, he said there are people of many different races and religions but the country has been able to avoid serious conflicts between races "because we are conscious of the need to be sensitive to the sensitivities of others". "If we are not, then this country would never be peaceful and stable," he wrote.

Speaking about the Western culture, he said, "Generally, the West no longer adhere to their own religion. They are Christians in name only. That is their right. But, they must not show disrespect for the values of others, for the religion of others. It is a measure of the level of their civilisation to show this respect."

"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.

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