Evangelical Leaders met with Saudi Prince

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia By Mazen AlDarrab (Sent via OTRS) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The Khashoggi incident was discussed between the leaders.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia met American evangelical Christians on November 1. The evangelical Christian delegation was led by Joel Rosenberg, a political strategist cum novelist presently residing in Israel and included a number of prominent evangelicals like Wayne Pederson, the former CEO of NRB, Michael Little, the former Christian Broadcasting Network CEO, Mike Evans, the writer, and Michele Bachmann, the former U.S. congresswoman. A few of the multiple evangelical organizations have noticeable ties to Israel. It is to be mentioned that Saudi Arabia was not their first stop. They earlier flew to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt and the leaders of the United Arab Emirates. Critics have pointed out these governments actively sponsor discriminatory activities against Christians. Journalists are also repressed in those countries, with many being held without trial.

This meeting took place at Riyadh's royal palace with the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi casting a shadow on the proceedings. It remains unclear whether the Saudi Government had a role in the killing of the contributing columnist of the Washington Post. The meeting was unique as evangelicals have nothing in common with Saudi Arabia. White evangelicals, known to be devoted supporters of the Trump administration, have met in recent times a number of Middle Eastern leaders who they believe will be their allies against Iran. The evangelicals also hope their activities and actions will help Christian minorities in the same Muslim countries.

The delegation also met a number of Saudi foreign officials like Price Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, the Foreign Minister, and Mohammad al-Issa, Muslim World League Secretary-General. The evangelical delegation was happy with the outcome. In its subsequent statement, the delegation described the meeting as a historic moment when the Saudi Crown Prince welcomed the evangelical leaders. The latter was pleasantly surprised with the candor of the royals and of senior government officials.

Johnnie Moore, the spokesman of the group, said subjects discussed in the meeting included Khashoggi's killing along with a number of human rights issues. A prominent Israeli newspaper claimed the evangelical delegation members acted as the Israeli Government's unofficial representatives. It is believed Tel Aviv was open to Riyadh's help in tackling Iran. The group flatly denied such reports.

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