Saudi Arabia condemns cartoons offending Prophet Muhammad

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A supporter of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) waves a dagger, as he chants slogans with others against the satirical French weekly newspaper 'Charlie Hebdo,' during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan September 4, 2020. — Reuters pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A supporter of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) waves a dagger, as he chants slogans with others against the satirical French weekly newspaper 'Charlie Hebdo,' during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan September 4, 2020. — Reuters pic

DUBAI, Oct 27 — Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam, today condemned cartoons offending the Prophet Muhammad and any attempts to link Islam with terrorism but did not echo calls by other Muslim states for action against images being displayed in France of the Prophet.

A foreign ministry official also said in a statement that the Gulf state condemns all acts of terrorism, in an apparent reference to the beheading of a teacher in Paris this month by an Islamist radical avenging the use of cartoons of the Prophet in a class on freedom of expression.

“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,” said the statement carried by state media.

The images of the Prophet have sparked anger in the Muslim world with Turkey's leader calling for a boycott of French goods and Pakistan's parliament passing a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris.

In Saudi Arabia, calls for a boycott of French supermarket chain Carrefour were trending on social media, though two main stores Reuters visited in Riyadh on Monday seemed as busy as normal. A company representative in France said it had yet to feel any impact.

United Arab Emirates-based Majid Al Futtaim, which owns and operates Carrefour supermarkets across the Middle East, said the chain supported regional economies by sourcing a majority of items from local suppliers and employing thousands of people.

“We understand that there is some concern among consumers across the region at present and we are monitoring the situation closely,” it said in a statement sent to Reuters yesterday.

In neighbouring Kuwait, some supermarkets have pulled French products under a directive of a cooperative union. — Reuters

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