The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, hosted a private meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, HRH Mohammed bin Salman, at Lambeth Palace this morning.
During the hour long visit, the Archbishop was encouraged to learn from the Crown Prince about Saudi Arabia’s roadmap for the future, ‘Vision 2030’. 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.
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.
In a cordial and honest conversation, the Archbishop voiced his distress at the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and asked that all that is possible be done to alleviate the suffering of civilian populations and to seek an end to the conflict.
As leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Archbishop shared the challenges and concerns of Anglicans from around the world, who often as a minority faith community have few advocates for freedom of religion or belief where they live. He emphasised the crucial role that Saudi Arabia could play in protecting minorities across the world.
Together, the Archbishop and Crown Prince viewed a selection of early texts from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths from the Lambeth Palace library collection, as well as the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript, on view for the first time outside of Birmingham for this occasion, with the permission of the University of Birmingham.
The Archbishop appreciated the opportunity to engage in this important conversation at Lambeth Palace, especially following the Crown Prince’s visit with Pope Tawadros II on Monday at St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. Also present in today’s meeting were the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman and the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines.