Dr Mahathir says wasn’t given a chance to defend himself after backlash for controversial tweet on France, Muslims

Soo Wern Jun
·3-min read
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a media conference at the Pullman Kuala Lumpur in Bangsar August 7, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a media conference at the Pullman Kuala Lumpur in Bangsar August 7, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today that he did not get a chance to explain himself following backlash against a controversial social media post he wrote yesterday.

The former prime minister said both Facebook and Twitter had requested for the administrator of his accounts to delete the posts, which he said were removed despite his team’s attempts to explain the context of the posts.

“There is nothing I can do with Facebook and Twitter’s decision to remove my posting,” Dr Mahathir wrote in a follow-up blog post.

“To my mind, since they are the purveyors of freedom of speech, they must at least allow me to explain and defend my position.”

Dr Mahathir said he was “disgusted” with attempts to misrepresent and take out of context his post, saying that the misrepresentations have since been used to allegedly stir up further hatred against Muslims.

“Even my appeal that the French should explain the need to advise their people to be sensitive and respect the beliefs of other people is left out.

“What is promoted by these reactions to my article is to stir French hatred for Muslims,” he wrote.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir was lambasted worldwide for at tweet saying “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.” had received thousands of replies and retweets worldwide, with many condemning it.

The remark was part of a paragraph where Dr Mahathir continued with: “But by and large the Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings.”

They were part of his blogpost yesterday suggesting that Muslims “have the right to punish” the French for their alleged wrongs committed against the community, amid escalating violence in France.

Dr Mahathir has since received condemnation from some world leaders, including embassies of Australia, the United States, and Germany in Malaysia.

Posted just a few hours after a knife attack outside Nice, France that killed three people and injured others, the former prime minister said Muslims also deserve to be angry and a boycott against the republic will not suffice.

Dr Mahathir’s post came as a knife-wielding attacker beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in the French city of Nice yesterday.

The attack came while France was still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty by a man of Chechen origins.

Since Paty’s killing, French officials — backed by many ordinary citizens — have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.

That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.

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