Saudi religious head slams Arab uprisings

Saudi Arabia's top Muslim authority has warned that anti-regime uprisings are "chaotic acts" aimed at tearing apart the Islamic world, a Saudi newspaper reported on Saturday.

"These chaotic acts have come from the enemies of Islam and those who serve them," said Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, known for his close ties to the Saudi monarchy, quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat.

"Inciting unrest between people and their leaders in these protests is aimed at hitting the nation (Muslim world) at its core and tearing it apart," he said in a speech in Riyadh at the weekly prayers.

The mufti, whose country has given refuge to Tunisia's ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, said uprising also triggered "bloodshed" and "stealing."

The protests in Egypt and Tunisia -- sparked by poverty and unemployment -- are "hitting" the economies of Muslim nations "in a plot aimed at turning them into backward countries," he said.

In a telephone call with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi King Abdullah last week expressed his support for the embattled president and slammed those "tampering" with the country's security and stability.

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