Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam, on Tuesday condemned cartoons offending the Prophet Mohammad and any attempts to link Islam with terrorism.
A foreign ministry official said in a statement that the Kingdom condemns all acts of terrorism, in an apparent reference to the beheading of a teacher in Paris this month by an extremist 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 the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The images of the Prophet have sparked anger in the Muslim world with calls 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 on Monday.
In neighboring Kuwait, some supermarkets have pulled French products under a directive of a cooperative union.