Saudi Cleric Slams 'Fabrications' over Missing Journalist
The prayer leader at Mecca's Grand Mosque called Friday for "unity" in the face of "fabrications" against Saudi Arabia, over two weeks after a dissident journalist's disappearance sparked a diplomatic crisis.
Riyadh has faced mounting international pressure since Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate on October 2.
Pro-government Turkish media have reported he was tortured and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad, claims rejected by Riyadh.
"Repeated accusations, allegations and biased media campaigns will not discourage (Saudi Arabia) from holding to its principles," Sheikh Abderrahman al-Sadis said during a sermon accompanying Friday prayers at the mosque in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam.
The kingdom "depends on God alone, then on the wisdom of its leadership and the unity of its sons to fight false allegations," he added.
He urged Saudis to "depend on the facts and avoid jumping into speculation and basing positions on... fabrications", adding that a "campaign" against the kingdom was "a provocation against the feelings of more than a billion Muslims" around the world.
Sermons accompanying Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque are seen as reflecting the Saudi leadership's take on world events.
Saudi public figures have taken to Twitter to express support for authorities' handling of the Khashoggi affair, while newspapers in the kingdom have condemned a "media campaign" against it.