A recent blog post and a series of social media posts by former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has created a furore, with many urging Twitter to ban the 95-year-old leader. The brutal murder of a French teacher by a radicalised teenager soon after he showed his class cartoons featuring Prophet Muhammad had triggered widespread protests. However, French President Emmanuel Macron's comments in the wake of the attack have not gone down well with many.
Macron's refusal to curb the freedom of expression that permits religious satire, and his vocal criticism of radical Islam has irked many Muslim world leaders, as well as countless people across the world. Since then, there have been disparaging personal remarks about Macron's mental health, calls for boycott of French products and more. Against this backdrop, Mahathir courted controversy after he wrote on his blog Thursday that Muslims have a right to be angry and kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.
Excerpts from the same were also tweeted out by the 95-year-old leader. Calling Macron "very primitive", Mahathir had faulted the President for 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," he had tweeted.
Some of his comments, on Facebook and Twitter have been removed by the social media organisations for violating their rules.
The former Prime Minister however was unrepentant. Insisting that his comments were being misrepresented and taken out of context, he said that critics had not read the entire post. Despite his explanations, he alleged that Twitter and Facebook had, rather hypocritically removed the posting.
"Those who did that highlighted only one part of paragraph 12 which read: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” They stopped there and implied that I am promoting the massacre of the French," he tweeted.
(With inputs from agencies)