By Johnnie Moore, who is a Southern Baptist minister from California and was the 2017 recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “medal of valor” for his work on behalf of religious minorities in the Middle East.
(CNN) Demonstrating his by now well-known courage and candor, the 32-year-old Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, could not have been more clear to Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo last fall when he said he aimed to turn the Kingdom in the direction of a “moderate Islam” that is “open to the world, open to all the religions.”
The crown prince’s message is being reinforced by his recent and much-publicized visit to the United States and the momentum of reforms emerging from Arab nations across the Middle East. We will have to see if the prince’s spirit of tolerance prevails against the well-entrenched Wahhabists, the ultraconservative Islamic sect that originated in Saudi Arabia and has been accused of providing an ideological framework for extremism throughout the world.
It could very well be that we are witnessing the prelude (or more) to a theological and political reformation within the Islamic world — one that ought to be encouraged and validated by Christians. We are very good at protesting the abuse of religious freedom and less vocal when it comes to praising those who are trying to make a positive difference.
These days, there are plenty of efforts being undertaken that are worthy of praise.