The following is a press release our Evangelical Delegation issued on Tuesday, September 10:
(Jedda, Saudi Arabia) — On the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, a delegation of American evangelicals led by Joel C. Rosenberg made their second visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within a year. The group discussed the Kingdom’s sweeping reforms and encouraging battles against terrorism and violent extremism. The group also discussed the Vision 2030 plan, matters of religious freedom, human rights, Iran, Israel and the peace process.
The visit was organized by the kingdom’s new Ambassador to the United States, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, as well as her immediate predecessor, HRH Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The Delegation met with a wide range of senior officials, and also visited the ancient Nabatean city of Al-Ula and the $500 billion region of Saudi’s future, NEOM, both likely to draw an enormous flow of tourists once the Kingdom begins issuing tourist visas by the end of this year and as development accelerates on both projects.
The group issued the following joint statement about the visit:
“We are grateful for the hospitality of our hosts, His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. As in all of our interactions with the Kingdom and religious leaders of this nation, our focus has principally been the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“While it may surprise some that we would choose the week of September 11 to visit the Kingdom, we actually feel there is no 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 on 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.
“We are also grateful to have deepening relationships in the Kingdom where trust is invaluable and where change is a topic of daily conversation. This increasing trust has afforded us the opportunity to talk openly, if sometimes privately, about what we believe must change in the Kingdom even as we celebrate the Kingdom’s progress in so many other areas. That is particularly evidenced by the diversification of its economy, tourism, the groundbreaking work of the recent Charter of Mecca and the introduction of various forms of openness and modernization, especially as it relates to the rights of women. Our meetings were unhurried and our discussions were substantive.
“Frankly, we’re delighted at the scope of the developments even as we look with expectation for more change. We are also patient friends with realistic expectations that it will take time to reform what took years to create.”
Joel C. Rosenberg, head of the Delegation, added:
“We were encouraged to see that two U.S. Senators visited the Kingdom this week and met with the Crown Prince. But we were stunned to learn that these were the only two Senators who have come to visit all year. 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. Yes, there are significant challenges in the US-Saudi relationship. But we urge more Senators to come here, see the sweeping and positive reforms that the Crown Prince is making, and ask him candid questions directly rather than sniping at him from Washington.”
Evangelical Delegation to Saudi Arabia: September 8-12, 2019
Continue to read the whole article on Joel C. Rosenberg’s blog where this article originally appeared on Sept 10, 2019