US and Russian diplomats renew their rejection of blasphemy laws

Updated 21 November 2012

US and Russian diplomats renew their rejection of blasphemy laws

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation held a symposium on Monday regarding blasphemy against Islamic values, in its headquarters in Jeddah. The symposium panel included Ambassador Mohammad Tayeb, the director general of the ministry of foreign affairs office in Makkah, Serji Kozinsof, the Russian consul general in Jeddah, and Anne Casper, the US consul general in Jeddah. The three dignitaries discussed at length the recent American film that mocked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the violent reaction it sparked around the Muslim world.
Tayeb briefly retraced the background of the conflict between Islam and the West, beginning with the history of the Crusades, in the 11th century, and concluding with establishment of the Jewish state in the 20th century.
He added that despite the mistrust and conflict, serious steps are being taken to initiate religious reconciliation and dialogue, epitomized in 2008, when King Abdullah visited the Vatican. This significant visit resulted in the creation of the International Center for Religion and Cultural Dialogue in Vienna.
Tayeb further highlighted the OIC’s efforts at advocating against the rising tide of Islamophobia around the world, and in instituting the Islamophobia observatory.
In her speech, Casper retouched upon the contents of President Obama’s momentous speech in Cairo in 2009, reminding the audience how the president spoke candidly about the tensions that exist between the United States of America and the Muslim world. She said he had called for a sustained effort to listen, learn, respect one another, and to seek common ground. Casper reaffirmed the US government’s rejection of the demeaning contents of the film that denigrated Islam, as well as their denunciation of violence.
“I made it clear during my meeting with Mohammad Tayeb our rejection of the contents of that film and also our rejection to violence in response to this movie, even if it is an undignified form of expression,” she said.

Houthis drone attack targets Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jawf

Updated 36 min 12 sec ago

Houthis drone attack targets Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jawf

  • The drone was intercepted over Yemeni airspace
  • The coalition destroyed three drones during the earlier 24 hours

DUBAI: The Arab coalition destroyed a Houthi drone targeting Al-Jawf in the north of Saudi Arabia, state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

Coalition forces intercepted the drone while it was still in Yemen’s airspace.

Arab coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said, the militia’s continued attempted attacks would end in failure,

Earlier on Monday, the coalition announced that they successfully destroyed three Houthi drones and intercepted six ballistic missiles targeting Saudi Arabia over 24 hours.

The missiles, which were launched from Saada, were targeting civilian areas in Al-Jazan, Al-Maliki said.

Earlier in August, 10 drones were fired at the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant in Saudi Arabia, near the UAE border – the Houthis claim responsibility for the attack.

There were no injuries and operations were not disrupted.