Twitter Was Right to Delete Ex Malaysia PM Mahathir bin Mohamad’s Tweet Justifying France Attacks


Twitter Was Right to Delete Ex Malaysia PM Mahathir bin Mohamad’s Tweet Justifying France Attacks

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Aspate of attacks by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in France this month has captured the world’s attention. First, a teacher was beheaded by a radicalised attacker in Paris for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. This was followed by an attack by a knife-wielding terrorist on a church in Nice, which left three dead. Other attacks have also taken place, including a confrontation between police and a man armed with a gun in Montfavet, as well as an attempt to assault the French Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While most of the world’s serving and former heads of state have condemned the religious terrorism, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad stuck out by justifying the attacks, saying “Muslims have the right to be angry and kill millions of French for the massacres of the past. The French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings,” in a blog post as well as a Twitter thread, in which the most offensive tweets have since been deleted.

Mohamad’s post, titled “Respect Others”, was ill-timed, as it came only a few hours after the Nice attack was reported. Though Mohamad does not refer to the Nice attack in his statements, he does refer to the killing of the teacher in Paris earlier this month. Despite the title of his post, expressing solidarity with the terrorists rather than their victims shows very little respect for those who lost their lives to these violent acts.

The controversial and dangerous opinions proffered by Mohamad have led to a wave of condemnation from people across borders. Journalist Ajai Shukla said Mohamad’s comments exposed him as a bigot.

Many world leaders have already expressed solidarity with the people of France and their president Emmanuel Macron, whom Mohamad referred to as “primitive”. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison went a step further and called Mohamad’s comments absurd and abhorrent.

It’s shocking that a former elected head of state can so brazenly call for violence on social media, but this year has taught us to expect the worst.