Saudi Arabia condemns republication of blasphemous caricatures

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Updated 27 October 2020

Saudi Arabia condemns republication of blasphemous caricatures

  • The Kingdom condemned any terrorist act, regardless of its perpetrator, and called for intellectual and cultural freedom to promote respect, tolerance and peace

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has condemned any attempt to link Islam with terrorist actions whilst denouncing the republication of offensive depictions of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).

Quoting an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Saudi Press Agency said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia also condemned every terrorist act, regardless of its perpetrator.

“Saudi Arabia calls for intellectual and cultural freedom to be a beacon that spreads a message of respect, tolerance, and peace, and rejects all practices and actions that incite hatred, violence, and extremism,” the source was quoted as saying.

Political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri described the statement as balanced.

“The official source represented the stance of Saudi Arabia, the heart of the Muslim world. It does not accept such offenses against Islam and Muslims. The Saudi reactions have always been judicious and avoid escalation. They also tend to make the offenders realize their blunder,” Al-Shehri said.

Commenting on provocative remarks made by some heads of state against Islam and Muslims, he said such statements show that these leaders were against Islam and its followers.

“It is really sad (to note) that a president of any country goes that far and stokes tensions. In France, for example, there are many Muslims, and I wonder how the French president addresses a segment of his people in that way, let alone 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.”

He said such provocative speeches hurt religious sentiments and posed a danger, adding that the world needed “interfaith dialogue, not disrespect.”

Al-Shehri said: “Islam does not interfere in the affairs of the followers of the other religions. The West, unfortunately, wants to change people the way they like. When (French President) Emmanuel Macron said, ‘Islam (is) in crisis all over the world,’ in fact, he himself is in crisis because he always puts his nose into Muslims’ affairs. He even intrudes on what people eat, drink, or wear. I believe such behavior has nothing to do with secularism or liberalism,” the analyst said.

He stressed that supporting offensive caricatures under the name of free speech was an assault on others’ religions, lamenting that the world did not react as strongly when worshippers were massacred in last year’s mass shootings in Christchurch mosques.

President Macron has vowed to take the fight to Islamist radicals after the Oct. 16 beheading of a history teacher, who had shown blasphemous caricatures during a class discussion on free speech. 

Macron’s comments have created resentment in the Muslim world, prompting protests in various parts of the globe and leading to calls to boycott French products. Many products have been already reportedly been removed from malls in Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar.

According to a BBC report, France has urged Middle Eastern countries to end calls for boycotting its goods.

“The baseless calls for a boycott were being pushed by a radical minority,” the BBC quoted the French Foreign Ministry as saying.

Following the beheading of the French teacher, the Saudi Foreign Ministry expressed solidarity with the French people and offered condolences to his family and the French government. The ministry renewed its call to respect religious symbols and to refrain from stirring hatred by insulting religion.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”