(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) — It’s been an extraordinary week traveling into the United Arab Emirates with Evangelical leaders for four days and into Saudi Arabia for three, meeting with the most senior government leaders in both countries. It was the first time either country had ever invited Evangelical leaders to come meet with them and we were humbled to come in the name of Jesus.
We came to listen, to learn, to build bridges of relationship between Muslims and Christians, to be advocates for our Christian brothers and sisters, to explain what it means to be an Evangelical, to answer questions, and to ask questions — direct and sometimes hard questions — on the most sensitive and controversial of issues.
We came not as representatives of the U.S. or Israel or any other country, but as ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we were both surprised and encouraged by how warmly we were received. The Crown Princes of both countries each spent two full hours with us. Both let us engage them on everything we came to discuss, without restriction. We asked about the heinous and ghastly murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the lack of any Christian churches in Saudi Arabia, the historic (though steadily changing) Arab hostility to the State of Israel, and a wide range of other human rights and religious liberty issues. We also discussed at length the very real and existential threats posed by Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Radical Islamists to them, to the U.S. and Israel and to the Christian community. And they were candid and direct in their answers.
We were not clear when we arrived in either countries whether they wanted our visit to be public. In the end, however, both countries issued statements to the press, released photos of our meetings with their leaders, and in so doing sent a strong signal throughout their own media and throughout the Arab and Muslim world that it’s not only acceptable but a good thing for Muslim leaders to meet with devout followers of Jesus Christ and have open and respectful dialogues, even on the most difficult of topics. I’m not sure I can explain just how encouraging this was. I believe speaks of a remarkable new day in the region. More on that in the days ahead.
For now, here’s a sampling of the coverage by Christian, Arab, Israeli, U.S. and other international media. I should note that our visits were viciously attacked by the Iranian press and other extremists who hate Christians and hate the fact that I’m also Jewish believer with Israeli citizenship. And yet our hosts, fully expecting the blowback, remarkably went public with our visits anyway. Did I mention it’s a new day in the region?
Coverage of Saudi Visit
- Exclusive Video: Christian Leaders Meet Saudi Crown Prince in Historic Step (Christian Broadcasting Network)
- Saudi Arabia hosts rare visit of U.S. evangelical Christian figures (Reuters)
- Trump’s evangelical advisers meet with Saudi Crown Prince and discuss Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, “human rights,” spokesman says (Washington Post)
- American Evangelical leaders visit Saudi Crown Prince amid backlash to Khashoggi murder (Christian Post)
- In historic first, Saudi Crown Prince meets Israeli Evangelical Christian (The Jerusalem Post)
- Saudi Arabia hosts rare visit of US evangelical Christian figures (Ynet News, Israel)
- Crown Prince meets American Evangelical delegation (Saudi Gazette)
- Saudi Crown Prince meets with American Evangelical Christian leaders (Alarabiya)
- Saudi crown prince receives American Christian leaders (Arab News)
- American Evangelical leaders delegation visits ETIDAL, Saudi center for combatting global extremism (ETIDAL)
- HRH Crown Prince Meets With Delegation of American Evangelical Christian Leaders (Saudi Embassy)
- Saudi crown prince receives delegation of U.S. Evangelical Christian leaders (Xinhua China News Agency)
- Evangelical Delegation Meets with His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Following Meetings in Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, American Christian Leaders Turn Their Attention to Saudi Arabia (Evangelical Delegation’s press release)
Coverage of UAE Visit
- Freedom is unfolding in this Arab country: U.S. Evangelicals find UAE “treasure of moderation” (Christian Broadcasting Network)
- Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed receives U.S. Evangelical Christians (The National, UAE)
- Minister of Tolerance Nahyan meets U.S. Evangelical Christian delegation, briefs them on UAE’s experience in values of tolerance (Gulf News)
- Abu Dhabi crown prince meets evangelical delegation (The Jerusalem Post)
- PHOTOS & VIDEO of Meeting: Mohamed bin Zayed receives U.S. Evangelical Christian Delegation (Emirates News Agency)
- First-Ever Delegation Of Evangelical Leaders Thank Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for his Protection of Freedom of Worship for Churches (Evangelical Delegation’s press release)
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