Saudi Arabia's mufti or spiritual leader Sheikh Abdelaziz al-Sheikh on Saturday condemned as un-Islamic violent protests against an anti-Muslim Internet film made in the United States.
The mufti also denounced the film's dissemination, which he considered "a criminal act," but called on demonstrators to "not turn legitimate protests into unauthorised provocative acts," in a statement quoted by the official news agency SPA.
"Such acts damage the Muslim religion, are not permitted by God and are incompatible with the teachings of the Prophet" Mohammed, he said, hoping for "the criminalisation of attacks on sacred figures" in monotheistic religions.
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He said those promoting the film wished to "turn Muslims away from their goals, which are building their countries, reinforcing their unity and the pursuit of development."
"The best response for Muslims to such attacks is to get on with developing and building their countries," he said.
The low-budget film produced in the United States, "Innocence of Muslims," incited a wave of bloody anti-American violence in Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and several other countries.
Protests and attacks on foreign embassies have killed at least 11 demonstrators, as well as the US ambassador and three other American diplomatic staff in Libya.
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest religious sites, on Thursday condemned the American film but also denounced the deadly attacks in reaction to it, offering its "condolences to the United States on the victims of the violence that targeted the US consulate in (the Libyan city of) Benghazi."