The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that Prince Khaled al-Faisal, the governor of Makkah region, received the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and they exchanged “friendly” talks and discussed “issues of common concern.”
The move comes amid calls in many countries of the Middle East to boycott French products, especially food products, as well as calls to demonstrate against France over the publication of cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.
This campaign led to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issuing a statement calling on Middle Eastern countries to prevent retail companies from boycotting their products, considering them to be issued by a “radical minority”.
In his turn, the French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouy, thanked the Emir of the Makkah region.
In a related context, Prince Mishaal bin Majid bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Jeddah, received today, the French Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Bui, in the presence of the Consul General in Jeddah Mustafa Maharaj.
During the meeting, they exchanged friendly conversations and discussed issues of common interest. According to the official Saudi news agency.
The Saudi official agency (SPA) did not disclose whether the interviews dealt with the statements of French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he defended the cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.
During the past few days, France witnessed the publication of insulting pictures and drawings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, on the facades of some buildings.
And last Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said, in a press statement, that France would not abandon the “cartoons” (offensive to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad), which sparked a wave of anger throughout the Islamic world.
In addition to the offensive cartoons, France has recently witnessed a controversy over the statements of a large section of politicians targeting Islam and Muslims, following the killing of a teacher on October 16, by a French citizen angered by the latter’s display of “offensive” cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad Ali His students, under the pretext of freedom of expression.
Many Islamic organizations condemned the killing of the teacher, but stressed that this cannot be separated from the condemnation of his behavior related to displaying “offensive” cartoons of the Prophet.
An atmosphere of hate
In turn, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia stressed that “insulting the shrines of the prophets and messengers, may God’s prayers and peace be upon them, will not harm God’s prophets and messengers, but rather serve those who call extremists who want to spread an atmosphere of hatred among human societies.”
She said in a statement on Sunday, “It is the duty of the wise in all parts of the world, institutions and individuals to condemn these abuses that do not have anything to do with the freedom of expression and thought, but rather are just abhorrent bigotry, and a free service for those with extremist ideas.”
The statement clarified that “the Islam sent by Muhammad, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, came to prohibit any denigration or denial of any of the prophets of God, and also forbade opposing religious symbols in the saying of God Almighty: (And do not insult those who call besides God and insult God an enemy without knowledge).” .
The statement added, “Islam is a command to turn away from the ignorant, and the biography of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, speaks so, for his sanctuary, peace be upon him, and the shrines of his brothers among the prophets and messengers are preserved and sublime. God Almighty said: (I am your mockers).
And the statement continued, “It is the duty of Muslims and every lover of truth and tolerance to spread the biography of the Prophet, peace be upon him, including mercy, justice, tolerance, fairness and striving for the good of all humanity.
Earlier in the day, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the past few days have witnessed calls in many countries of the Middle East to boycott French products, especially food products, as well as calls to demonstrate against France over the publication of cartoons insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.
“These calls for a boycott are baseless and must stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country that are being pushed by an extremist minority,” the statement said.
The statement added, “The calls for a boycott are absurd and must stop immediately, as well as all attacks on our country that are behind a radical minority,” after President Emmanuel Macron’s statements about Islam that sparked criticism, demonstrations and calls to boycott French goods in the Islamic world.
French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted in Arabic on his Facebook page, Sunday, saying, “Nothing will ever make us back down. We are attached to freedom, we guarantee equality, and we live brotherhood with momentum. Our history is the history of struggle against all forms of tyranny and intolerance. We will continue.”
“We respect all differences in the spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and defend rational debate. We will continue. We will always stand by the side of human dignity and universal values,” he added.
Activists expressed their strong anger at the friendly reception of the French ambassador by the Emir of Mecca, in light of a wave of discontent in the Arab and Islamic worlds against France.
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