Mahathir bin Mohamad, a Malaysian politician who served as the 4th and 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, and again from 2018 to 2020, has described President Emmanuel Macron as “very primitive.”
Mohamad who spoke on the recent outrage which ensued after Marcron’s speech on October 2nd emphasized that “The French in the course of their history has killed millions of people. Many were Muslims.”
Before an audience in a town northwest of Paris — some 20 kilometres from where a teacher was later murdered after discussing cartoons with his class — Macron set out a plan to combat “separatism”, focusing on Islam in particular.
“Islam is a religion which is experiencing a crisis today, all over the world,” he said in his speech (in French), citing tensions between fundamentalism, proper religious projects and politicians.
There was a need to “free Islam in France from foreign influences”, the president went on, outlining plans to end a system allowing Imams to train overseas, reduce homeschooling, and take control of religious funding. Associations would have to sign a contract respecting “the Republic’s values” in order to obtain subsidies.
The measures, accompanied by improvements to educational, cultural and sports services, are to form part of a draft law on “secularity and liberty”, expected in December.
Macron began his speech by reasserting that the French principle of secularity guaranteed the freedom to worship, rejecting the “trap” laid by extremists which would seek to “stigmatise all Muslims”.
But the president singled out the ideology of “Islamist separatism” which sought to “create a parallel order” to the French Republic, asserting its own laws as superior. People should face up to a phenomenon that was enticing significant numbers of young people, he said.
“Our challenge is to struggle against the downward slide of some in the name of religion, by ensuring that those who want to believe in Islam and are full citizens of our Republic are not targeted.”
Macron also acknowledged that France had failed its immigrant communities, creating “our own separatism” with ghettos of “misery and hardship” where people were lumped together according to their origins and social background.
“We have thus created districts where the promise of the Republic has no longer been kept, and therefore districts where the attraction of these messages, where these most radical forms were sources of hope,” he added.
Also, after Samuel Paty’s brutal killing, Emmanuel Macron defended freedom of expression: “We will not give up caricatures and drawings, even if others back away”, calling for an end to hatred and violence and for respect for others.
The days following the teacher’s murder saw an emphasis on security and the fight against radicalisation, as the French state took action against those suspected of links to extremism.
“Our citizens are waiting for us to act,” Macron said. “Dozens of operations have been launched against associations, and also individuals who support a plan of radical Islamism, in other words an ideology to destroy the (French) Republic.”
Responding to all these in a statement titled “RESPECT OTHERS”, Dr Mahathir Mohamad says –
“A teacher in France had his throat slit by an 18-year-old Chechen boy. The killer was angered by the teacher showing a caricature of Prophet Muhammad. The teacher intended to demonstrate freedom of expression.
“The killing is not an act that as a Muslim I would approve. But while I believe in the freedom of expression, I do not think it includes insulting other people. You cannot go up to a man and curse him simply because you believe in freedom of speech.
“In Malaysia, where there are people of many different races and religions, we have avoided serious conflicts between races because we are conscious of the need to be sensitive to the sensitivities of others. If we are not, then this country would never be peaceful and stable.
“We often copy the ways of the West. We dress like them, we adopt their political systems, even some of their strange practices. But we have our own values, different as between races and religions, which we need to sustain.
“The trouble with new ideas is that the late comers tend to add new interpretations. These are not what the originators intended. Thus, freedom for women, meant the right to vote in elections. Today, we want to eliminate everything that is different between men and women.
“Physically we are different. This limits our capacity to be equal. We have to accept these differences and the limitations that are placed on us. Our value systems is also a part of human rights.
“Yes, sometimes some values seem to be inhuman. They cause some people to suffer. We need to reduce the sufferings. But not by force, if the resistance is great.
“The dress code of European women at one time was severely restrictive. Apart from the face no part of the body was exposed. But over the years, more and more parts of the body are exposed.
“Today a little string covers the most secret place, that’s all. In fact, many in the west are totally naked when on certain beaches. The West accepts this as normal. But the West should not try to forcibly impose this on others. To do so is to deprive the freedom of these people.
“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.
“Macron is not showing that he is civilised. He is very primitive in blaming the religion of Islam and Muslims for the killing of the insulting school teacher. 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.”