In a statement on Sunday, Grand Ayatollah Ali Safi Golpayegani expressed condolences over the martyrdom of the little boy to his family, who are Shia Muslims, and prayed that God give his family patience to bear his loss
He also called on international bodies to react to the atrocious crime and slammed the silence of Muslim countries’ rulers, especially those in Riyadh for the silence on the tragic incident.
The killing of the boy in broad daylight in Saudi Arabia has generated a wave of shock and revulsion and drawn attention to the brutal nature of Wahhabi school of thought which governs the kingdom.
The child, identified as Zakariya Bader al-Jabir, was brutally murdered last week by a man - described in some reports as a taxi driver- in front of his screaming mother in the holy city of Medina.
The killer repeatedly stabbed Zakariya in the neck with a piece of broken glass until he was beheaded, witness accounts of the gruesome killing said.
The child and his mother were reportedly attacked by the apparently lone assailant while they were on their way to visit the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Shia Rights Watch, a Washington-based advocacy group, said on Saturday the incident was “a result of ongoing violations against and lack of protection of the Shia population by Saudi authorities."
“Saudi Shia have been under military crackdown by their government and many Shia are in prisons and on death row,” it said.
According to reports, Saudi officials were quick to state that the killer suffered from psychological problems.
Ahmad Abul Ali, executive director of Child Development Center in the Eastern Province which is populated mostly by Shia Muslims, called for protection for all children in the kingdom, online newspaper Hasanews reported.
Ademrights, an Iraq-based rights group, also denounced the killing and held Saudi authorities responsible for fueling violence against the Shia minority in the Wahhabi-dominated kingdom.
The murder of the Saudi child, it said, is more dangerous than the crimes committed by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Takfirism is the trademark of many terror outfits operating in the two countries. The concept is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi clerics.
Riyadh is widely believed to be a key sponsor of Takfiri terrorist groups.
The regime has also adopted a zero-tolerance approach toward dissent, the latest example of which is the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.