In the cartoon published by Al Watan, the long beard of a menacing looking man in a suit and a tie ends with a gun pointing at a target that is not illustrated.
Several Saudis condemned the cartoon on social networks, charging that it criticised or made fun of Muslims who grew beards in line with the religious tradition.
However, Talal Al Shaikh, editor-in-chief, dismissing the claims said, “The man in the cartoon referred to the so-called Muslims who abuse Islam, terrorise people and kill them in the name of religion,” he said. “We do not in any way condone any abuse of religion or of religious scholars,” he added.
But Ahmad Al Maliki, a lawyer, said that the excuse put forth by the editor-in-chief was unacceptable. “The cartoon is a blatant insult and the justification is not acceptable,” he said.