In wake of wide Saudi Arabian cultural and social global openness, for the first time in the country’s history it has signed a cooperative agreement with the Vatican to build churches for Christian citizens to advocate the important role of religions and cultures in renouncing violence, extremism, terrorism and achieving security and stability in the world.
The agreement was signed by the Secretary General of the Muslim World League Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa and the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in the Vatican and the French cardinal of the Catholic Church Jean-Louis Tauran to achieve mutual goals between both sides.
The agreement also states that a coordinating joint committee will be established comprising two representatives for both sides to organize future meetings. The committee is expected to be held once every two years and its meetings will be alternated between Rome and a city chosen by the Islamic World League, according to the Saudi Arabian press.
The historic visit also included a meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohamed Bin Salman in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Tauran said that he supports equal treatment to all citizens regardless their religion, including those who do not profess any religion; he also called on setting common basis in building worship places, according to “L’osservatore romano”, the Italian newspaper published by the Vatican.
In an interview with the Vatican News newspaper after the visit, Tauran said he was pleased by what he described as ‘the beginning of the rapprochement’. “It is a sign that the Saudi authorities are now ready to give a new image to the country,” he added.
Earlier in March, Bin Salman met with Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark during his visit to Egypt; Tawadros strongly praised Bin Salman, saying he represents an open and modern image of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The visit of the Saudi Crown Prince was a great pleasure, and I was very impressed by his personality and smile, and his knowledge and understanding of history and current events,” the Pope said during an interview on MBC TV satellite channel.