RIYADH, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, on Saturday denounced attacks on diplomats and embassies as un-Islamic after deadly protests against a U.S.-made film mocking Islam's founder.

Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al al-Sheikh also called on governments and international bodies to criminalise insults against prophets and excoriated the film that has prompted a wave of fury across the Middle East.

"It is forbidden to punish the innocent for the wicked crimes of the guilty, or to attack those who have been granted protection of their lives and property, or to expose public buildings to fire or destruction," he said in a speech carried by state news agency SPA.

Describing the release of the crudely made short film as "miserable" and "criminal", he added that attacks on the innocent and diplomats "are also a distortion of the Islamic religion and are not accepted by God".

At least nine people were killed after noon prayers on Friday in demonstrations across the Middle East.

Washington sent extra troops to guard its embassies after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on a U.S. mission in Libya on Tuesday. The violence spread to Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere.

There have been no reports of anti-American demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, a key Arab ally of the United States and country that holds significant influence over the world's 1.6 billion Muslims via its guardianship of Mecca and Medina.

Al al-Sheikh's statement echoed the official position taken by Saudi Arabia on Thursday, condemning both the film and attacks on U.S. embassies.

Earlier on Saturday, al Qaeda's regional wing based in Yemen called on Muslims to kill American diplomats in Islamic countries and step up protests against the film.

Some of the senior leaders of the group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, are of Saudi nationality, but are sworn enemies of the kingdom's ruling family.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • India

    An Indian protester kicks at a graffiti of the American flag on a wall of the U.S. Consulate during a protest against the anti-Islam film, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in Chennai, India, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Arun Shanker K.)

  • India

    An Indian protester tries to break the glass window of the U.S. Consulate during a protest against the anti-Islam film which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in Chennai, India, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Arun Shanker K.)

  • India

    Indian protesters shout slogans outside the U.S. Consulate during a protest against the anti-Islam film which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in Chennai, India, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Arun Shanker K.)

  • India

    Indian policemen try to stop a protester from climbing a wall of the U.S. Consulate during a protest against the anti-Islam film, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in Chennai, India, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Arun Shanker K.)

  • India

    Indian protestors climb the wall of the U.S. Consulate during a protest in Chennai, India, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. The protest was held against an obscure movie made in the United States called "Innocence of Muslims" that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Arun Shanker K.)

  • Tunisia

    Tunisian protesters break the windows as they hold Islamic flags above the gate of US embassy in Tunis during a protest against a film mocking Islam on September 14, 2012. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Tunisia

    Tunisian protesters lower and burn a US flag as they replace it with an Islamic flag during a demonstration against a film deemed offensive to Islam, outside the US embassy in Tunis, on September 12, 2012. (KHALIL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Tunisia

    Tunisian protesters hold Islamic flags and Koran during a demonstration against a film deemed offensive to Islam, outside the US embassy in Tunis, on September 12, 2012. (KHALIL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Tunisia

    Demonstrators throw stones during a protest against the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, as police respond with tear gas Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

  • Gaza City

    Palestinian Hamas supporters burn a U.S. flag during a protest in Gaza City, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

  • Egypt

    An Egyptian protester holds a placard criticizing the western "freedom of speech" during clashes with riot police, unseen, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egypt

    Egyptian youth protesters take cover behind barriers during clashes with security forces, unseen, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

  • Egypt

    Egyptian protesters evacuate an injured youth toward a waiting ambulance, unseen, during clashes with security forces, unseen, by the street leading to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egypt

    An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police, unseen, behind cement blocks that are used to close the street leading to the U.S. embassy during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egypt

    An Egyptian protester throws a stone toward riot police, unseen, during clashes close the street leading to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • An injured Egyptian youth protester takes cover behind a metal barrier during clashes with riot police, unseen, behind cement blocks that are used to close the street leading to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Egypt

    Two Egyptian protesters, one wearing the Guy Fawkes mask, clash with riot police, unseen, near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

  • Sudan

    Sudanese women chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.(AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

  • Sudan

    Sudanese protesters march in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, against a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf)

  • Sudan

    Sudanese protesters and riot police face off during a protest outside the German embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Germany's Foreign Minister says the country's embassy in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum has been stormed by protesters and set partially on fire. Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters that the demonstrators are apparently protesting against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.(AP Photo/Abd Raouf)