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Mahathir Bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, in an incendiary tweet on Thursday said that ‘Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past’.
The 95-year-old Mahathir then went on to state that the through their history the French have killed millions of people, including many Muslims, even as the anger against France seems to be growing in Muslim nations after French President Emmanuel Macron said that Islam was in ‘crisis’.
The standoff began with the killing of a French teacher Samuel Paty on October 16 near his school in broad daylight. As a part of his class on freedom of expression, he had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students. This irked some people, leading to Paty’s murder.
France had called this a terrorist attack and linked the killing to Islam.
In a twitter thread posted soon after this news broke, Mahathir also said: "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."
It was in this context that Mahathir took to Twitter to vent his spleen, soon after a woman was decapitated and two others stabbed to death near the Notre Dame Basilica church in the French city of Nice today.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, termed this act a ‘terrorist’ attack and tweeted that the ‘Islamo-fascist’ attacker ‘didn't stop shouting Allah-u Akbar even under medication’ after being shot and arrested.
Mahathir, who was the Malaysian prime minister till February this year, called the French president ‘very primitive’ and not civilised.
Continuing his tirade on Twitter, Mahathir also said: ‘The dress code of European women at one time was severely restrictive. Apart from the face no part of the body was exposed. But over the years, more and more parts of the body are exposed.’
He further tweeted: ‘Today a little string covers the most secret place, that’s all. In fact, many in the west are totally naked when on certain beaches.’
In September last year, in his address to the UN General Assembly, he had called India an ‘invader and occupier’ in Kashmir. Retaliating against this, India hit back with an economic boycott of Malaysia, hitting the latter’s palm oil industry very hard.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the French president and said he needs ‘mental checks’ for his views on Islam. Other Muslim nations, particularly Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, too, have condemned Macron.
There has also been a global demand by Muslim nations to boycott French goods, even as thousands of people across the Muslim world have staged protests against France.
Inputs: Agencies, Telegraph, Swarajyamag