Thursday, March 8, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Visits Egypt

The American media has been scrupulously ignoring the momentous changes taking place in Saudi Arabia. I am happy to say that this blog has not joined the chorus.

Recently, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made another extraordinary step toward religious tolerance during an visit to Cairo, Egypt. We will recollect in passing that the Obama administration policy toward Egypt helped to overthrow the Mubarak regime and to empower the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi officialdom was very close to Mubarak and despised the Brotherhood. Thus, Obama succeeded in installing a regime that was anti-American and anti-Semitic while alienating one of our most important allies in the region.

Reporting today's story in the American Thinker, (via Instapundit) Thomas Lifson finds the right tone:

It is hard to overstate the significance of a hugely symbolic move by the reformist Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). American media mostly are clueless about religion, and lack any understanding of the momentous changes underway on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the full support of the Trump administration. The fact that MbS is reputed to be close to Jared Kushner seals the deal: the mainstream media has little interest in extolling the world-historical transition underway in the nation that is pre-eminent in Sunni Islam, the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, and which has been the moneybags for radical jihadists for three generations.

Since the Saudi reform movement is being actively supported by the Trump administration, and especially by Jared Kushner, the media does not report it.

What did MBS do? Lifson quotes the story, as it appeared in a Saudi news source, Al Arabiya:

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has arrived at the St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo in an historic visit to the church.

Prince Mohammed was met by Pope Tawadros II, 118th and current Pope of Alexandria.

Earlier in the day, the prince visited the office of the Al-Azhar Sheikh.

In the evening, the Saudi Crown Prince and Sisi will see an improvisation theater show at Cairo’s Opera House focused on correcting destructive ideas and fighting terrorism.

As for the Saudi attitude toward Coptic Christians, MBS removed the stigma of being infidels and invited them to visit Saudi Arabia as “guests.”

Al Arabiya reported:

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.

Speaking to Egyptian media after the visit the head of the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.

“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia.

The two men walked together through St Mark's Cathedral, in what Egypt’s state news agency described as the first tour of its kind.

Lifson explains the importance of these gestures. He adds that MBS also proposed economic cooperation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in building a new modern city at Neom:

Simply stated, MbS is seeking to defang Muslim extremists who seek to destroy Christianity in Arab- and Muslim-majority countries. Garnering support from the most-respected source of Islamic scholarship (no doubt accompanied by the offer of funds from the Saudi treasury) is the carrot to be used in persuading Wahhabi clergy to change their preaching, with the denial of Saudi funds to recalcitrant advocates of armed jihad, supplies the stick.

And also:

Reforming Islam to reconcile it with modern, technological societies based on free will is one of the most important tasks for the world to accomplish. These moves by MbS make it clear that he is betting his career and indeed his life on accomplishing that task.

In the ongoing war against radical Islamist terrorism this must count as an important victory. Some people thought that the May meeting of President Trump with Sunni Arab leaders in Riyadh was more show than substance. We thought otherwise. It appears for now that we were right.


Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...
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Linda Fox said...

This is, in fact, YUGE. I have friends who are Coptic, and this is great news, as it may lead, in time, to a more stable Egyptian culture, not as hostile towards the Christians.

Ares Olympus said...
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Sam L. said...

AO, you could have provided some counter-evidence. I'd like to see some.

Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...
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Ares Olympus said...

Sorry Sam.