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Saudi top cleric condemns attacks on non-Muslims 

Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s top cleric has condemned violence against non-Muslims living in Islamic countries and attacks on Muslims on the pretext of apostasy.

“Given the dangerous developments in the Muslim world, I would like to warn against the danger of attacking Muslims and those (non-Muslims) under Muslim protection,” Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said on Monday.

He condemned calls which lead to the “shedding of the blood of Muslims and of those living in their countries in peace,” in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.

“Those extremists have invented the pretext of ‘takfir’ (the charge of apostasy), which makes light of the killing of Muslims and others who are protected,” said the 69-year-old cleric who became the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia in 1999.

He was born a member of Saudi Arabia’s religious family the “Al ash Sheikh.”

Sheikh’s warning comes as fears intensify for minorities living in restive Arab countries, especially Syria.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia charged that the “obstinacy” of the Syrian authorities, in the face of a 30-month armed revolt, “serves the interests of extremist movements.”