Ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia: ‘Muslims Have a Right to Kill Millions of French People’

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad gestures as he speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP) in Beijing, China, 20 August 2018.(Photo by How Hwee Young - Pool/Getty Images)
How Hwee Young - Getty

Mahathir Mohamad, who until March of this year served as prime minister of Malaysia, declared on Twitter Thursday that “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”

Mohamad, age 95, made the remark in a rant in which he called French President Emmanuel Macron “primitive,” insisted the world’s Muslims “have a right to punish the French,” and complained that women in the West do not wear enough clothing.

France has experienced at least three attacks by jihadists on Thursday: a murder spree resulting in three killings in the city of Nice, an armed man shouting “Allahu Akbar” shot dead before being able to cause much damage in Avignon, and the stabbing of a security guard at a French consulate in Saudi Arabia.

The global Muslim community has united to condemn the French state after a Chechen terrorist beheaded a schoolteacher in the suburbs of Paris. The teacher, Samuel Paty, had shown cartoons of Mohammad, a holy figure in Islam, to his class in a lesson on freedom of expression. Paty reportedly warned students and allowed Muslim students who may be offended to skip the class. Police believe the parents of Muslim students organized to identify Paty and find someone to kill him; the French government shut down the mosque that issued a fatwa against Paty.

Prominent Muslim world leaders have almost unanimously condemned the French people for objecting to the beheading.

Mohamad, currently embroiled in a political struggle to return to power in Kuala Lumpur, published a string of thoughts on Paty’s beheading on Twitter that condemned freedom of expression, Western swimsuits, and Macron personally.

“A teacher in France had his throat slit by an 18-year-old Chechen boy. The killer was angered by the teacher showing a caricature of Prophet Muhammad. The teacher intended to demonstrate freedom of expression,” Mohamad wrote. “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,” Mohamad said.

Mohamad then pivoted to the issue of women’s clothing.

“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,” Mohamad lamented. “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 allowing women to wear whatever they want, including nothing at all, he continued, the West was trying “to forcibly impose this on others. To do so is to deprive the freedom of these people.”

Mohamad then called Westerners “Christians in name only” and Macron, personally, “very primitive.”

“Irrespective of the religion professed, angry people kill. The French in the course of their history has killed millions of people. Many were Muslims,” Mohamad said. “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”

“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 concluded, referring to calls in the Muslim world to boycott French products.

Mohamad’s assertion that Muslims have the “right … to kill millions of French people” remains on Twitter at press time. [Update: Twitter has taken down the post since the publication of this article]

According to the United Nations, genocide is defined as killings, among other acts, “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” French people constitute a universally recognized national group.

Mohamad is an openly antisemitic Islamist. In 2003, he declared, “I am glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

More recently, in 2018, Mohamad told BBC that Jewish people were “hook-nosed” and that “the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of the state of Israel.” He also rejected the true death toll of the Holocaust, which he has repeatedly done.

“Well, I have not disputed them, but I have said that ‘Who determined these numbers?’” Mohamad said of the Holocaust death toll while speaking as an invited guest at Colombia University in 2019. “If it is somebody who is in favor, you get one figure, if somebody who is against, you get another figure.”

Last year, Time magazine named Mohamad one of the world’s “most influential people” for his “core values.”

Mohamad resigned in February as prime minister, staying on for another month as interim while the government found a replacement. He is currently embroiled in a struggle to return to power, urging a “unity government” that would include him. On October 16, the day a jihadist beheaded Samuel Paty, Mohamad announced a no-confidence vote against successor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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