Ireland's PM said its incitement-to-hatred legislation is "not up to date for the social media age."
Elon Musk responded by saying the PM "hates the Irish people."
Musk is facing criticism for allowing hate speech to proliferate on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Elon Musk said that Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar "hates the Irish people" after he called for incitement-to-hatred legislation to be updated as violence erupted across Dublin's city center this week.
On Thursday, riots broke out after reports that a foreign national had stabbed a woman and three young children at a primary school circulated.
The Independent reported that as of Saturday, a five-year-old girl and the woman, who is a school-care assistant, remained in a critical condition in the hospital.
Some public transport was suspended after several hundred people set trams and buses alight, looted shops, and clashed with police.
Drew Harris, the commissioner of the Garda, Ireland's national police, labeled the rioters a "complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology," The Irish Independent reported.
Thirty-four people have been arrested so far, Harris added.
Anti-immigration campaigners on social media were quick to brand the suspect in the stabbings a foreigner, and many online chat groups then pointed people to the scene of the crime, Politico reported.
In response to the riots, Varadkar called for the modernization of laws on incitement to hatred.
"We will pass new laws in the coming weeks to enable the gardaí to make better use of the CCTV evidence they collected yesterday," Varadkar said. "We will modernize our laws against incitement to hatred and hatred in general."
He added that Ireland's incitement-to-hatred legislation was "not up to date for the social-media age."
"It's not just the platforms that have a responsibility here, and they do, it's also the individuals who post messages and images online that stir up hatred and violence. We need to be able to use laws to go after them individually," he said.
Elon Musk has since weighed in on Varadkar's comments, saying in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the prime minister "hates the Irish people."
Ironically, the Irish PM hates the Irish people
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2023
"The current Irish government clearly cares more about praise from woke media than their own people," Musk added in another post.
Social-media users and researchers have widely accused Musk of allowing hate speech to proliferate on X. The New York Times reported that researchers from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League, and other groups found that the platform has seen increases in the use and spreading of antisemitic language, slurs against Black Americans, and homophobic content since Musk's takeover last year.
"Ironically Elon Musk has a platform that facilitates people to spread hate and misinformation about Ireland," Kevin Doyle, an Irish journalist, responded to one of Musk's comments on Varadkar.
Ironically Elon Musk has a platform that facilitates people to spread hate and misinformation about Ireland. https://t.co/tDqVn2OmR0
— Kevin Doyle (@KevDoyle_Indo) November 24, 2023
The main suspect in the stabbings is a naturalized Irish citizen — originally from Algeria — who's been living in Ireland for the last 20 years.
A Deliveroo driver from Brazil, Caio Benicio, helped stop the attacker, using his helmet to strike the attacker on the head and knock him down.
"When I saw the knife I stopped my bike straight away. I didn't think if I'm afraid or brave or not. I acted on instinct," he told BBC News NI.
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