Riyadh: Saudi Arabia`s top cleric Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh on Monday 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," he said.
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 apostacy), which makes light of the killing of Muslims and others who are protected," he said.
Sheikh`s warning comes as fears intensify for minorities living in restive Arab countries, especially Syria.
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."
Britain`s Daily Telegraph cited a defence study as showing jihadists and members of hardline Islamist groups make up almost half of the estimated 100,000 fighters battling the Syrian regime.