Former prime minister Najib Razak went from showing support for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to now telling people to calm down about his arch nemesis Mahathir Mohamad over a tweet telling people that Muslims have the “right to be angry and to kill” the French.
Najib, 67, tweeted this morning after a night of online uproar towards Mahathir’s tweet that has since been removed from the platform. Najib told everyone not to take Mahathir’s statement out of context but also called on the 95-year-old’s social media accounts to be taken off the grid.
“The world should calm down & read @chedetofficial statement in its full context,” Najib wrote this morning. “I’m sure he didn’t mean exactly what he said. And even if he did, it’s his personal opinion not Malaysia’s.”
“In meantime, someone should take away all his social media accounts before he does more damage,” Najib added.
The world shld calm down & read @chedetofficial statement in its full context. I'm sure he didn't mean exactly what he said. And even if he did, it's his personal opinion not Malaysia's.
In meantime, some1 shld take away all his social media accounts before he does more damage.
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) October 30, 2020
Mahathir yesterday triggered widespread outrage after putting out a 13-part Twitter thread titled “Respect Others,” where he denounced the killing of a French history teacher who showed cartoons of Islamic Prophet Muhammad in class but also said that practising freedom of speech should not include “insulting other people.”
Mahathir then shared his opinions about what he thought were Western ideologies before saying that French President Emmanuel Macron was not “civilised” for defending the cartoons in the name of freedom of speech. The former prime minister went on to say that France had a history of killing Muslims before adding: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”
Twitter has already removed the offending tweet for glorifying violence but not after initially slapping a note underneath to tell readers that “it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.” The rest of Mahathir’s thread was left as it is.
Mahathir concluded his Twitter thread by saying that “by and large the Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law” and that “the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings.”
He then showed support for the ongoing boycott against French-made products that began after Prophet Muhammad cartoons by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were republished in recent weeks amid a trial over the 2015 attack of its Paris office, as well as the death of French teacher Samuel Paty.
French Secretary of State for Digital and Telecommunications Cédric O has called for Mahathir’s account to be “immediately suspended.”
“If not, @twitter would be an accomplice to a formal call for murder,” he said yesterday.
Mahathir has not responded to the outrage but his Pejuang political party last night tweeted a photo of him sitting with Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Al-Bakri, who Tuesday sent a book about the prophet to the French ambassador in Malaysia.
Outcry over France and Macron has also spread to other countries like Saudi Arabia, India, and Iran.
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