Saudi Arabia calls on international community to criminalise hate speech

King Salman's call for tolerance follows deadly Christchurch shootings

Courtesy Saudi Press Agency
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Saudi King Salman has called on the international community to criminalise racist rhetoric, following a terrorist attack in Christchurch that left 50 Muslims dead.

During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, King Salman urged tolerance from those looking to incite hatred, adding that religions are made to sustain peace and not violence.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency, the Minister of Information, Turki bin Abdullah Al Shabana, said the cabinet reiterated the kingdom's condemnation of the terrorist attack.

“We stress the kingdom’s encouragement of respect for all religions, and we call to criminalise and fight all hate speech that can lead to terrorism,” a statement from the Saudi state news agency said.

Two Saudi citizens were among those in the two mosques attacked last Friday. Mohsin Al Harbi, who lived in New Zealand for 25 years working in water desalination, was killed in the attack. Phtoos of him emerged in the aftermath being carried on a stretcher with one finger outstretched, presumably in prayer.

The other, Aseel Al Ansari, was injured in the attack less than two weeks after arriving in New Zealand to study English.

Saudi Arabia called the shooting a terrorist act necessitating response, and it pledged its support for the families of the victims.

“Terrorists do not have religion nor a country, we are in dire need of implementing the values of love, harmony and peace. The council expressed the deepest condolences to the deceased and the government of New Zealand,” Spa reported.

Saudi Arabia has since ramped up its fight against hate speech, making it a top priority to urge other countries to criminalise the act in the past few years.