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Saudi Crown Prince slammed for purchase of 'un-Islamic' painting

Saudi Crown Prince Buys $450 Million Da Vinci Painting Of Jesus Christ [Twitter]
Saudi Crown Prince Buys $450 Million Da Vinci Painting Of Jesus Christ [Twitter]

Activists and scholars have criticised Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, for purchasing Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi at a record $450 million last month.

The critics argued that the sale process and price, which is believed to be three times higher than the anticipated value, come at an awkward time as the Kingdom, led by the prince himself, launched a mass anti-corruption campaign against hundreds of princes, former lawmarkers and businessmen.

Algerian human rights activist and former diplomat, Mohamed Larbi Zitout, wrote on Twitter: "How much money does one have to have to pay this much for a painting and where did he get it from?"

"What is the Islamic ruling on such a deal according to the clerics of the two Holy Mosques?" he added in reference to Saudi clerics.

Read: Saudi Crown Prince splashed $0.5bn on Jesus painting

Some reports accused the Saudi Crown Prince of using the auction to launder money, while others criticised the purchase of a painting which depicts a prophet, in contravention of the teachings of Islam.

On Friday, the Saudi embassy in Washington issued a statement denying media report that the Crown Prince was the painting's ultimate buyer.

The embassy said in its statement said that Prince Bader has been a supporter of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and that on 8 November, at the Louvre's opening ceremony, the Department of Culture and Tourism approached the prince and asked him to act as an "intermediary purchaser".

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