RIYADH: Saudi Arabia condemns any cartoons offending the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and rejects any attempts to link Islam with terrorism, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) cited an official source from the Kingdom’s foreign ministry as saying.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects any attempts to link Islam with terrorism and condemns the offensive cartoons of the Prophet of Guidance and the Messenger of Peace Mohammed bin Abdullah, may God bless him and grant him peace, or any of the messengers, peace be upon them,” the source said. Saudi Arabia condemns all terrorist attacks and those responsible for them and rejects all practices and actions that incite hatred and violence, the source added, according to SPA.“Freedom of expression and culture should be a beacon of respect, tolerance and peace that rejects practices and acts which generate hatred, violence and extremism and are contrary to coexistence,” the statement said.
The statement comes amid rising controversy after the murder of a French teacher who had shown cartoons of the Prophet during a class about free speech.
French President Emmanuel Macron labelled the killing as “an Islamist terrorist attack” and tweeted in Arabic earlier this week that France would “not give in” and would “not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate.”
In response, several Arab countries, including Kuwait and Jordan, urged their citizens to boycott French products over the use of Prophet Mohammed in French cartoons, with retail co-ops in Kuwait pulling French products from their shelves.
Social media users in the Kingdom also called for a boycott of French supermarket retailer Carrefour on Sunday.
The foreign ministry source did not address the calls to boycott the products.Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, previously said that insulting prophets only serves extremists who wish to spread hatred among societies.
“The duty of wise people all around the world… is to condemn such insults which have nothing to do with freedom of thought and expression and are nothing more than pure prejudice and a free service for extremists,” the council said in a statement reported by the Kingdom’s official Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.