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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for calm following public controversy over one of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's tweets on Muslims and France.
Also speaking on Twitter, the Pekan MP said the world “should calm down” and read Dr Mahathir's statement in its full context.
“I am sure he did not mean exactly what he said. And even if he did, it is his personal opinion not Malaysia's,” he said.
However Najib also took a dig at the Langkawi MP, adding that “someone” should take away all his social media accounts before he does more damage.
Dr Mahathir's tweet, in which he said that Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past, was part of a series of tweets in response to the attack in a cathedral in Nice, France, yesterday which saw three people knifed to death and several others injured.
He was speaking about how Muslims also deserve to be angry and a boycott against France will not even suffice.
The controversial tweet was followed by another in which the 95-year old former prime minister said that by and large Muslims have not applied the “eye for an eye” law, and that neither should the French but instead teach their people to respect other people’s feelings.
The tweet was initially marked for “glorifying violence” but was left online, with Twitter citing its policy on keeping tweets of public interest. Subsequently the tweet was completely removed for violating its rules.
Prior to the series of tweets, Dr Mahathir wrote on his blog chedet.cc in which he suggested that Muslims have the right to punish the French for their alleged wrongs committed against them.
His series of tweets has since drawn condemnation both domestically and from abroad, particularly from Australian diplomats and the country's prime minister Scott Morrison.
The attack in Nice 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.