KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has suggested today that Muslims “have the right to punish” the French for their alleged wrongs committed against the community, amid escalating violence in France.

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 even suffice.

“Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past. 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,” he wrote in his blog.

“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 added, directing his remarks to French president Emmanuel Macron.

In the post, Dr Mahathir also accused Macron of not being civilised and “primitive”, for allegedly blaming Islam and Muslims after a teacher was beheaded earlier this month in Paris for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics lesson.

“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 wrote, but did not elaborate.

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

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

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.

In his writing today, Dr Mahathir also accused the Western world of trying to forcibly impose their moral values on others, which would deprive the freedom of those being forced.

“Generally, the west no longer adhere to their own religion. They are Christians in name only. That is their right. 

“But they must not show disrespect for the values of others, for the religion of others. It is a measure of the level of their civilisation to show this respect,” he wrote.

In Malaysia, Muslim groups such as Islamist party PAS, moderate group Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), and hardline grop Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) have called for the boycotting of goods from France.

Yesterday, Perikatan Nasional condemned Macron for choosing what it called “the path of religious chauvinism and intolerance”.

Similarly, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had on Tuesday said in response to Macron that freedom of speech is an essential value of Islam and the Muslim world does not need any more lectures about its significance, least of all from those who suffer from Islamophobia.