Dr M: Avoid religious provocation and insult

KUALA LUMPUR - Religious provocation must be avoided because one can never anticipate what an angry person will do, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said despicable acts such as insulting Prophet Muhammad should not have been committed in the first place.

"They did not respect Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. They like to do caricatures regarding religious issues. This is an act of provocation," Dr Mahathir told reporters after launching the "One Soul, One Quran" campaign at Kuala Lumpur Tower yesterday.

He was commenting on Wednesday's terror attack on Charlie Hebdo where three gunmen stormed the Paris office of the French satirical weekly, which is known for lampooning Islam and other religions. Twelve people, including the editor-in-chief and three cartoonists, were killed.

Dr Mahathir also questioned the intention behind satirical work that touched on religious sensitivities.

"What's the use of them making fun of Prophet Muhammad when they know it will annoy Muslims?

"Just because they feel safe and strong, they think they can do anything even when the action won't benefit anyone," he added.

He said that although Muslims should not kill despite being provoked, there were bound to be those who were riled up enough to carry out acts of violence.

While chiding the satirical newspaper, Dr Mahathir also strongly condemned the killing of the 12 victims.

"Saya tidak menghalalkan perbuatan membunuh ini (I do not condone these killings) but we must remember that when we intentionally provoke people, we cannot anticipate their reaction. When people are upset, this is what happens.

"We must show respect for other people's religions," he said.