A Saudi official delegation headed by Advisor to Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Dr. Abdullah bin Fahd al-Luhaidan has met with Pope Francis of Vatican.
The delegation stressed that this visit was to express the Kingdom's appreciation to the Pope for his sincere positions and statements calling for peace and coexistence, rejection of linking between religions and terrorism and affirming sincere and deep aspiration to promote a culture of dialogue and peaceful coexistence among all followers of religions and cultures.
The delegation recalled the visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to the Vatican in 2007, his meeting with the Pope Benedict XVI and the outcome of this meeting – it underpinned the importance of dialogue among religions and civilizations, stressing that all nations share common values.
This is a fixed policy adopted by Saudi Arabia and the Vatican, and it was approved in a global conference for scholars from all over the Islamic world in Mecca in 2008.
The meeting between the Saudi delegation and Pope Francis signaled that they both have a religious weight, and that there are more than 1.5 billion of Muslims around the world who pray facing the Qibla (Mecca) five times a day, and more than 15 million who head to the kingdom to perform pilgrimage.
They also enjoy an international political weight that is the result of their moderate policies and their respect to contracts and conventions in which they are signatories of.
Thanks to Saudi efforts, King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue was established to promote dialogue among religions and civilizations. Spain, Austria and the Vatican took part in it.
The Saudi support to international peace continued through the establishment of King Salman Centre for International Peace in Malaysia and the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology – named “Etidal” or “moderation” – in Riyadh.
Of course, in addition to the meetings and tours carried out by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques because of his deep faith in the importance of communication to achieve peace.