Twitter, pressed by the French government, finally withdrew a message from former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, believing shortly after an attack in Nice that Muslims had the right to “kill millions of French”.
Twitter finally withdrew a message from former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday, believing that Muslims had the right to “kill millions of French people”, after France called for the outright suspension of the account.
“In the course of their history, the French have killed millions of people. Many were Muslims. Muslims have the right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past,” Mahathir Mohamad wrote.
The platform had previously maintained this tweet for some time, citing “public interest”, while accompanying it with a warning.
Three people were killed on Thursday, including at least one slaughtered, in a church in Nice during an attack considered by the French authorities as a terrorist.
Shortly afterwards, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, a Muslim country, until the fall of his government in February, posted a series of inflammatory messages on his Twitter account.
Referring to the beheading of a French teacher on 16 October who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students as part of his teaching, Mr. Mahathir also stated that he did not approve of the attack but that freedom of expression did not include “insults against others”.
“Regardless of the religion involved, people who are angry kill,” said the 95-year-old former prime minister, who has previously made controversial statements about Jews and homosexuals.
Mr Mahathir, who twice served as Prime Minister for a cumulative period of 24 years, considered French President Emmanuel Macron to be “very primitive”.
“The French should teach their citizens respect for the feelings of others. Since all Muslims and Muslims religion are accused of what an angry person has done, Muslims have the right to punish the French,” he continued. “The boycott cannot compensate for the misdeeds committed by the French all these years.”
He made no reference to the attack in Nice, committed according to a French source close to the investigation, with the cry of “Allah Akbar” (“God is the greatest”, in Arabic).
French Secretary of State for Digital Digital Cédric O called on the US platform to suspend the account and withdraw the message that Muslims would have “the right to kill millions of French people”.
“I have just met with the Managing Director of Twitter France. I demanded that the account of (Mahathir Mohamad) be immediately suspended. Twitter cannot be complicit in a call for crime,” he said on his personal account, in French and English.
Twitter initially maintained the message with the following statement: “This tweet violated the rules for glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that its availability may be of interest to the public.”
Then the tweet in question was finally removed. The other comments posted by Mahathir Mohamad were still visible.