On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, a delegation of evangelicals, led by Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem committee member Joel C. Rosenberg, met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the “Kingdom’s sweeping reforms,” and the ongoing battles against “terrorism and violent extremism.”
Regarding the timing of the meeting, the delegation wrote in a joint statement,
While it may surprise some that we would choose the week of September 11 to visit the Kingdom, we actually feel there is not a more appropriate time to focus on where the Kingdom must go, can go, and where we believe it is going. In fact, our visit here during this profoundly important week is in defiance of those that aim to derail reform in the Kingdom through an embrace of hate and fear rather than courage and moderation.
A recent step in the direction of “courage and moderation” is the Charter of Mecca, a document that was put together by the Muslim World League back in May, 2019. The Charter, which seeks to offer “Muslims around the world guidance on the principles that speak to the true meaning of Islam,” outlines the principles of moderate Islam, including the equality of all people under God regardless of ethnicity, race, beliefs, or cultures.
The delegation, in addition to meeting with the Crown Prince and other Saudi officials, also met with the secretary general of the Muslim World League, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa. Together, they produced a statement in which the delegation and al-Issa, on behalf of the MWL, affirm their “commitment to the common values” on which their respective communities are built, and “reject all attempts to sow division” between the two communities.
Rosenberg was encouraged by the delegation’s visit, and urged other United States leaders to visit, as “Saudi Arabia is one of America’s most important strategic allies in the war against radical Islamist terrorism and in countering the rising Iranian threat.” He acknowledges the “significant challenges in the US-Saudi relationship,” but encourages more visits from United States Senators specifically, in order to see the “sweeping and positive reforms” the Crown Prince is implementing in the Kingdom.
Although there are, as Rosenberg points out, “significant challenges in the US-Saudi relationship,” it is important to note that the Crown Prince is making strides in changing the way the country interacts with the rest of the world, and, more specifically, with other religions. As author and Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem committee member, Tom Doyle, notes, the Crown Prince recently extended an invitation to Christians, inviting them to visit and help build up the economy. This news should excite Christians—Saudi Arabia has been a closed country for decades; now, however, with the Crown Prince’s reforms, Christians will, while remaining sensitive to the culture and potential difficulties, be able to bring the gospel with relative ease to the people of Saudi Arabia.
Let us pray that the Lord uses this meeting, as well as subsequent interactions between Christians and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for His purposes.
Joel C. Rosenberg’s blog: https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/evangelical-delegation-meets-with-saudi-crown-prince-on-eve-of-9-11-anniversary-heres-why/
Charter of Mecca: https://www.saudiembassy.net/sites/default/files/Charter%20of%20Makkah-%20Unofficial%20Translation.pdf
Delegation/MWL Statement: https://twitter.com/MWLOrg_en/status/1171949063098572801