Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned the publication of blasphemous sketches of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in France.
A statement from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said Saudi Arabia “rejects any attempt to link Islam with terrorism, and condemns the offensive cartoons of the Prophet”
“Intellectual and cultural freedom to be a beacon of respect, tolerance and peace that rejects practices and acts which generate hatred, violence and extremism and are contrary to the values of coexistence,” the statement said.
Backgrounds and Scenario Outlines
French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo had published “blasphemous sketches” in 2006, which were protested all over the world, but in 2011 the magazine republished “blasphemous sketches”.
The same magazine continued to publish ‘blasphemous sketches’ from time to time, despite protests around the world, when two brothers attacked its office on January 7, 2015, killing 12 people, including the magazine’s editor and five cartoonists.
The magazine had stopped publishing “blasphemous sketches” after the incident, but last year the magazine resumed publishing “blasphemous sketches”, prompting protests from governments around the world.
Earlier in September, French President Emmanuel Macron had said that France had freedom of expression and would not rule on Charlie Hebdo’s decision to re-publish the blasphemous sketches.
Later, in mid-October, a teacher at a French school showed blasphemous sketches published in 2006 by the controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo during freedom of expression lesson.
A few days after the incident, a man beheaded the teacher, who was shot dead by police on the spot, and the case was linked to a terrorist organization.
Following the incident, the French president called the teacher who showed the blasphemous sketches a “hero” and embodied the values of the French Republic, and awarded him France’s highest civilian honour.
The last rites of the teacher were attended by the French president in Paris, after which the blasphemous sketches published by Charlie Hebdo were displayed for several hours on the town hall buildings of two French cities.
At a ceremony in memory of the teacher, the French president made it clear that “France will not give up cartoons.”
After the French president’s controversial statement that protests against the French government, including a boycott of French products in Arab countries and other Islamic countries, began.
Not only that, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had suggested that the French president should undergo a “mental treatment” twice, after which France recalled its ambassador from Turkey.
Reacting to the situation, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that President Emmanuel Macron’s attack on Islam had hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims in Europe and around the world.
In addition, the French ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office to protest, and both houses of parliament passed resolutions condemning the French President Macron’s Islamophobic Hate Speech.
On the other hand, on the issue of publishing blasphemous sketches in France, Iran said that French President Emmanuel Macron was fomenting extremism.
In addition, business organizations from several Arab countries, including Kuwait, announced a boycott of French products and all European products were being removed from stores, prompting the French government appealed Arab countries to end boycott of its products.