The Saudi statement comes when anger grows in the Muslim world over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in France.
Saudi Arabia said it rejects “any attempt to associate Islam with terrorism and condemns the offensive caricatures of the Prophet” amid an escalating dispute between France and some Muslim-majority nations over Paris’ support for the law Caricaturing prophets.
The government also called for “intellectual and cultural freedom to be a beacon of respect, tolerance and peace that rejects practices and actions that generate hatred, violence and extremism and run counter to the values of coexistence,” said a Saudi foreign minister told state media on Tuesday.
The official added that Riyadh condemned all acts of terrorism regardless of the perpetrators, in an overt reference to the beheading of a teacher in Paris earlier this month by a Muslim man who was angry about the use of caricatures of the Prophet in a free speech class.
The images caused trouble in the Muslim world.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a boycott of French goods, and the Pakistani parliament has passed a resolution calling on the government to recall its envoy from Paris.
Several Arab trade associations also announced a boycott.
Protests took place in Iraq, Turkey and the Gaza Strip. Protesters in the Iraqi capital Baghdad burned the French flag and stepped on pictures of French President Emmanuel Macron.
In Saudi Arabia, calls to boycott the French supermarket chain Carrefour were trending on social media, although a company representative in France told Reuters news agency that the effects had not yet been felt.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry’s statement on Tuesday made no mention of the boycott calls.
Erdogan lambasted his French counterpart again on Monday, saying for the third time that Macron needed a mental health check – a reprimand that led France to call its ambassador from Ankara back over the weekend.
The Turkish President also called on the European heads of state and government to put an end to the Macron agenda that he called “anti-Islam”.
“European leaders with foresight and morality must tear down the walls of fear,” Erdogan said in a speech at the beginning of a week of celebrations in Turkey to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.
“You have to put an end to the anti-Islam agenda and hate campaign that Macron is leading.”
The criticism came after Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism” and said he threatened to take over some Muslim communities in France.
Critics say Macron’s rhetoric promotes Islamophobia, incites hatred and alienates his country’s six million Muslims – the largest Muslim minority in Europe.
Late Monday, the French embassy in Ankara warned French nationals living and traveling in Turkey to be “very vigilant” due to the “local and international” context and urged them to avoid gatherings or demonstrations in public places.