File photo of Mahathir bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, speaking at a conference in Tokyo, Japan in 2009. | Photographer: Kimimasa Mayama | Bloomberg
File photo of Mahathir bin Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, speaking at a conference in Tokyo, Japan in 2009. | Photographer: Kimimasa Mayama | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad caused a stir Thursday with a series of tweets that seemingly justified violent action by Muslims against French people even as he called for people of different cultures to respect one another.

Starting his thread with the word ‘RESPECT’, he cited the incident of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen origin man for showing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad to his class.

While talking about how different cultures must respect each other and not impose their values, he critiques the adoption of Western practice, values and systems.

At one point he denounced the murder of Paty, saying that killing is “not an act that as a Muslim I would approve”. However, he later said, “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past”.

He added that Muslims by and large “have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law”.

The Malaysian leader’s tweets came hours after a knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” killed a woman and murdered two others at a church in Nice, France.

Mahathir bin Mohamad served as prime minister from 1981–2003 and 2018–2020, dominating the country’s politics for decades. In February this year, he was ousted from his post after the country’s monarch said he lacked majority support from lawmakers, and replaced by Muhyiddin Yassin.

Problem with French President Macron

In his thread of tweets, the 95-year-old Mohamad criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for “blaming the religion of Islam” for the beheading of the middle-school teacher.

“Macron is not showing that he is civilised. He 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,” he posted.

Several Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Kuwait, led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have recently hit out at Macron for his government’s response to terrorist attack, which included house raids of suspected Islamic extremists and closing down a mosque.

The tweets incidentally coincide with French weekly Charlie Hebdo, depicting Erdogan looking up a woman’s skirt while drinking beer in his underpants. Erdogan denounced the cartoon. The satirical magazine was the target of a terrorist attack in 2015 for a cartoon on Prophet Muhammad.

Also read: How France-Turkey’s probable but unlikely conflict has been shaped by Erdogan’s politics

West influence corrupting freedom of expression

Mohamad also criticised the use of freedom of expression and the changes to women’s clothing, among other issues he perceived were influenced by the West.

“You cannot go up to a man and curse him simply because you believe in freedom of speech,” he noted, while in another tweet, he said, “The trouble with new ideas is that the late comers tend to add new interpretations … Thus, freedom for women, meant the right to vote in elections. Today, we want to eliminate everything that is different between men and women.”

He went on to argue that Malaysia is “peaceful and stable” because people are conscious of the need to be sensitive to others.

Mohamad also told his 1.3 million followers: “We often copy the ways of the West. We dress like them, we adopt their political systems, even some of their strange practices. But we have our own values, different as between races and religions, which we need to sustain.”

Also read: Why French President Macron’s clash of civilisations with Islam is misguided


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4 Comments Share Your Views


  1. This religion of peace has killed millions of Kafirs. It has shown no sensivities to the people professing other faiths. It has destroyed places of worships and places of learning. It demands human rights from others but denies these rights to others. Its contribution to worlds wellbeing is negligible but it wishes to change the whole world to a Darul Islam from Darul Harab. It insults and makes fun of symbols of other religions, while keeps the right of lynching those who try to do the same to them. They enjoy the hospitability of generousness of others and when they multiply into a majority they demand subjugation by others.

  2. Oh you moldy corn. Muslims are killing all over the world anyone who is not a Muslim and does not agree with the ideology of your rapist Mohammed. Last year, the beheaded girls in the Atlas Mountains were not French and were also dressed from head to toe.

  3. As per this logic Muslims killed millions of hindus and destroyed thousands of temples. so now hindus has to revenge on that. Sick ppl past is past you can not bring back.


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