Saudi Crown Prince Commits to Interfaith Tolerance, Says Anglican Church

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met the head of the Anglican church in London on Thursday, promising to promote interfaith dialogue as part of his domestic reforms, the British faith leader’s office said.

Prince Mohammed is making an official visit to London to promote Saudi Arabia as a tolerant, modernizing economy and build a wider new trade and investment relationship with Britain - a long-term defense and security ally.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion of millions of Christians globally, received the crown prince at Lambeth Palace in central London, where the two talked for an hour.

“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,” a statement from Lambeth Palace said, Reuters reported.

“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, including fragments of a Quran manuscript found in a Birmingham University library in 2015, which are thought to be among the world’s oldest.

Welby also “voiced his distress” at the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the statement said. A Saudi-led coalition has launched an aggression on Yemen since March 15 in which nearly 14,000 people, mostly civilians, 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 pounds ($90.30 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 Persian Gulf Arab kingdom tries to shed its reputation as a global exporter of extremism worldwide.

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