Open Doors USA President Says U.S. Needs to be ‘Harder on Religious Rights Issues in Saudi Arabia’

If the United States and Saudi Arabia had a Facebook relationship, the status would be “it’s complicated.”

On the one hand, the U.S. enjoys friendly trade with Saudi Arabia, though it’s not a significant part of the American economy.

Also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently visited Saudi Arabia to strengthen national alliances in light of tensions with Iran. During his visit, Pompeo allegedly did not address the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

On the other hand, the U.S. previously imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials for Khashoggi’s murder.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom also designated Saudi Arabia a “Country of Particular Concern” in its 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom — the 15th year in a row the kingdom has earned this notorious label. However, Pompeo waived the sanctions that should have accompanied Saudi Arabia’s CPC stamp.

Dr. David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, says designating Saudi Arabia as a CPC is a start, but not the end goal.

“I think they need to be harder on the religious rights issues in Saudi Arabia. I know they’ve been talking about it, but I think that conversation needs to be a lot more public and front-and-center because the freedom for women and the freedom for Christians and other religious minorities in Saudi Arabia is minimal — or non-existent in the sense of Christian faith.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh