ASIA/SAUDI ARABIA - Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives a delegation of US evangelical Christians

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 middle east   islam   dialogue   evangelical   geopolitics  


Riyadh (Agenzia Fides) - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, received in Jeddah on Tuesday 10 September, on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the anti-US terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, a delegation of the Christian-Evangelical Leaders' delegation. The delegation was led by the Israeli-American media writer and strategist Joel Rosenberg, author of novels in which he also reread the phenomenon of modern terrorism in the light of biblical prophecies.
Rosenberg, on his twitter account, reported that in the conversation with the Prince there was talk of "terrorism, peace, religious freedom and human rights".
A similar delegation of evangelical Christians, also led by Joel Rosenberg, had already visited Saudi Arabia and met some of its leaders less than a year ago, in early November 2018.
The visit of the evangelical delegation lengthens the series of exponents of Churches and Christian communities that in recent years have traveled to Saudi Arabia to have high-level meetings with high dignitaries of the Kingdom. In April 2018, the Saudi authorities had received Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who at the time was President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (and died on 5 July of that same year). In November 2017 also Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai had made an official visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he met King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to some observers, the invitations to members of Churches and Christian communities are also part of the strategy pursued by the Crown Prince himself to accredit an open and dialoguing image of the Saudi royal house in the land that hosts Mecca and Medina, the holy city of Islam , and where the public practice of other faiths is banned.
Joel Rosenberg and his wife Lynn founded The Joshua Fund in 2006, an organization born from the desire to bring Christians "to bless Israel and its neighbors in the name of Jesus". In November 2018, Rosenberg's previous visit to Saudi Arabia was criticized by The American Conservative, a magazine founded in 2002 to give voice to US conservative sectors opposing the war in Iraq and George W. Bush's interventionist policies . "It is difficult", wrote The American Conservative, "not to consider the meeting as a cynical exercise in the use of "pro-Israel" evangelicals to consolidate ties between the Saudi kingdom, the United States and Israel". The US conservative newspaper also quoted the Jerusalem Post news site on that occasion, pointing out that the Israeli daily had presented the evangelical delegation "as unofficial ambassadors of an Israeli government that wants to ally itself with Saudi Arabia in the confrontation with Iran". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 11/9/2019)