Saudi Arabia calls on world to ban criticism of religion

From Al Arabiya

Saudi Arabia has reiterated its call on the international community to criminalize any act vilifying religious beliefs and symbols of faith as well as all kinds of discrimination based on religion.

Addressing an international symposium on media coverage of religious symbols based on international law, which started in this French city on Saturday, a senior Saudi official said the Kingdom emphasized years ago that the international community must act urgently to confront ethnic, religious and cultural intolerance, which has become widespread in all communities and peoples of the world.

“We have made it clear that freedom of expression without limits or restrictions would lead to violation and abuse of religious and ideological rights,” said Abdulmajeed Al-Omari, director for external relations at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

“This requires everyone to intensify efforts to criminalize insulting heavenly religions, prophets, holy books, religious symbols and places of worship,” he added.

Al-Omari pointed out that such abuses bred intolerance, extremism and human rights violations and contributed to the growing phenomenon of defamation of religions.

The Kingdom is participating in the forum, with representatives from 16 European countries, a number of international organizations led by UNESCO, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Association of Islamic Universities.

Al-Omari said the Saudi participation in the symposium falls in line with its efforts to support the principles of justice, humanity, promotion of values and the principles of tolerance in the world as well as to emphasize the importance of respecting religions and religious symbols.


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