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Saudi Arabia wades in on French cartoon debate as row escalates

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday waded in on a debate surrounding France’s defence of the right to show cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, calling the image of the prophet ‘offensive’.

A foreign ministry official said in a statement that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects any attempt to link Islam with terrorism and denounces cartoons offensive to Prophet Mohammed or any of the other prophets.’’

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is the latest Muslim country to express anger over the cartoons, which originally appeared in French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The right to publish them was recently defended by President Emmanuel Macron.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s influential seat of learning, has also denounced the cartoons, saying the attack on Islam was part of a systematic campaign to use Islam to win political battles.

Calls to stop buying French products have been gaining momentum in recent days.

Over the weekend, traders in Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar removed French goods from their stores in response to the calls.

Social media users also shared a list of French brands such as carmarkers Peugeot and Renault  as well as dairy brands Kiri, Babybel and Danone, calling for people to boycott them.

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