Religion And Human Rights Crisis

Archbishop of Canterbury challenges Saudi Crown Prince

08 Mar 2018, 23:07

NTV Online
Photo: Collected

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was pictured meeting the head of the Anglican church in London on Thursday.

Prince Mohammed made the official visit to the capital to promote Saudi Arabia as a tolerant, modernising economy and build a wider new trade and investment relationship with Britain.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace.

He then quizzed the prince for an hour on topics including religion and the human rights crisis. A statement from Lambeth Palace said: ‘The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond, reports the Metro.

‘The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK.’

The two men viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. They also looked at fragments of a Koran manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest.

Welby later ‘voiced his distress’ at the humanitarian situation in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition is fighting a war in Yemen in which 10,000 people have died and 8.3 million people have been left dependent on food aid.

Protests over the Yemen war have jarred with a warm welcome from the British government during the visit to London.

On Wednesday, Prince Mohammed met Queen Elizabeth for lunch and later agreed to boost trade ties by £65 billion in a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Earlier this week, Prince Mohammed met Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral, as the Gulf Arab kingdom tries to shed its reputation as a global exporter of an ultra-conservative brand of Islam which critics say has inspired Islamist militants worldwide. Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the more ambitious promises made by Prince Mohammed under plans to transform Saudi and reduce its reliance on oil.