Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a rare meeting with American evangelical Christians as the conservative kingdom seeks to open up more to the world and repair an image of religious intolerance.
The delegation was led on Thursday by communications strategist Joel Rosenberg and included former US congresswoman Michele Bachmann, according to an emailed statement from the group, as well as heads of American evangelical organisations, some with ties to Israel.
“It was an historic moment for the Saudi crown prince to openly welcome evangelical Christian leaders to the palace. We were encouraged by the candor of the two-hour conversation with him today,” the statement said.
The delegation also met Saudi officials including Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Khalid bin Salman, and secretary-general of the Muslim World League Mohammed al-Issa.
A visit by such prominent non-Muslim leaders, who estimate they represent about 60 million people, is a rare act of religious openness for Saudi Arabia, which hosts the holiest sites in Islam and bans the practice of other religions.