Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) told American evangelical leaders last week in their meeting that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a "terrible mistake" and vowed to punish those responsible.
As previously reported, the Crown Prince met with several evangelical leaders from the United States last week in Riyadh to hold a two-hour talk on the Crown Prince's vision for peace and harmony in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia, which is an international one Review takes place violations of human rights and religious freedom.
The evangelical leaders, who are predominantly conservative supporters of President Donald Trump, have been receiving online criticism from critics who condemned the group for having met with MBS in the face of international outrage over the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who has been murdered is due in early October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Turkish government has asked for information on the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body. A Turkish official suspected last week that Khashoggi was strangled on entering the consulate and his body was mutilated and dissolved in acid. The Saudis have said little about what happened to Khashoggi and those responsible for his murder.
Evangelical leaders who participated in the meeting with MBS last Thursday say that Khashoggi's death was one of the first topics mentioned.
"The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the first of many sensitive issues that we discussed in our two-hour meeting with MBS," said Evangelical Communications senior spokesman Larry Ross, president of A. Larry Ross Communications, Christian Post in an e-mail.
"In response, the Crown Prince replied that he did not approve of this heinous act, but might have led some of his people to love their kingdom too much, and delegated authority in a way that allowed them to believe that they were Leadership is appealing by taking things into your own hands. "
Ross explained that MBS did not specify who the perpetrators were, but stated that "a terrible mistake had happened".
"He stressed that after completing their investigations, they will prosecute those who committed this crime, that those responsible will be held accountable and brought to justice, and that every problem they have in the system is addressed," Ross closed.
The meeting of the evangelical leaders was organized by the author Joel Rosenberg, a US-Israeli citizen.
Rosenberg told Axios that the 33-year-old crown prince was ready to speak and "not defend" Khashoggi.
Rosenberg said that MBS informed the group that 18 people had already been arrested and five were fired to investigate the killing of Khashoggi. Rosenberg added that MBS has criticized its "enemies" in Turkey, Russia and Iran, who "use whatever they can to exploit this situation and exacerbate it."
"He said," Listen, I arrest people, fire people. Iran? If they kill people, do they arrest people? No. You are promoted. What about the Russians? What about the Turks? "Rosenberg remembered a rhetorical question.
Johnnie Moore, an evangelical communications officer who also participated in the meeting, told CP that MBS's comments during the meeting were not a guilty plea.
"On the contrary, on the contrary, he made it clear to us that he would not approve and not rest until they found and punished those responsible to the full extent of the law," said Moore, who also serves the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom , stresses in an e-mail.
The meeting with MBS took place when the Crown Prince made vows to promote religious tolerance, and demanded that Saudi culture return to a moderate Islam "open to all religions and the world." According to the Open Doors USA World Watch List of 2018, the Sunni majority holds 12th place when it comes to Christian persecution.
Rosenberg added that MBS said the death of Khashoggi was a "disaster".
"It is a totally unacceptable mistake and there comes a time when it threatens all the reforms we are trying to achieve," Rosenberg quoted MBS at the meeting.
Former Republican Congressman and Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann, President of the National Religious Broadcasters, former president of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Michael Little, Pastor of New Mexico, Skip Heitzig, also belonged to the group of evangelicals who met with the crown prince , founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, Mike Evans and former NRB CEO Wayne Pederson.
The MBS meeting took place following a meeting of the group with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Commander in Chief of the United States of America. The armed forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discuss how the Arab country stresses tolerance and religious freedom.
Similar groups of American Evangelicals led by Rosenberg have met with leaders in Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
"Without question, this is a time of great changes in the Middle East, and we were grateful for the opportunity to meet personally with key Arab leaders to understand their goals and ask direct questions," the group said in a statement after the statement Saudi visit. "We look forward to building on these relationships and continuing the dialogue."
Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: Samuel Smithc