My vision on the religious diversity in Saudi Arabia

Nathalie Goulet
Nathalie Goulet
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Worst than the blind are those who refuse to acknowledge the major changes sweeping through Saudi Arabia in a short span of time.

Today, news is heard about the activities of the Muslim World League’s officials and among them its leader Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa.

Recently, he met President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. Their discussions are considered a major breakthrough.

I have already spoken about what I have concluded about an invitation extended to Christian leaders to visit Saudi Arabia, and among them the Pope himself.

That was during my trip to in Paris in June 2016, during which I have had the pleasure speak with the Crown Prince about Saudi Arabia and its movements toward the change.

I believe that many taboos have been broken and only warped minds would perceive it as a kind of tactics. Many signs had predicted this change and no one could have imagined it occurring at such speed.

It is possible that we are at the cusp of a true cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia. More than ever, we must support all the efforts being made.

Nathalie Goulet

The visit of the Secretary General of the World Arab League to the Grand Synagogue of Paris during his visit last November was dubbed by many as a minor anecdote. Prince Mohammed bin Salman's meetings with multifaith leaders in New York was also treated as a public relations stunt.

The visit of the highest advisor of the Pope to Saudi Arabia was barely talked about. Today, conditions are quite different and the 2030 vision is no longer a tool since it impacts the deepest segments of Saudi society which is confined and closed on its own.

For more than two years, clear and indisputable acts of tolerance and broad-mindedness have been taken showing the leadership’s accommodation of cultural and religious diversity. Prince Mohammed bin Salman had demonstrated this fact.

This tolerance to religious diversity is a giant step forward for modernity which will silence many critics. I have always maintained and written that it is important to follow reforms and Saudi Vision 2030.

It is possible that we are at the cusp of a true cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia. More than ever, we must support all the efforts being made.

For some, the surprise comes from the fact that a politician has fulfilled his promises. They certainly should get used to it.
Saudi Arabia has just given a strong signal towards tolerance to the world and all extremists on the eve of Ramadan.

Everyone is about to witness new stages in the opening up of the country. There still remain some issues and taboos, but today is the time to salute these historic decisions.

Nathalie Goulet is a member of the Senate of France, representing the Orne department. She is a member of the Union of Democrats and Independents and sits with the political group of the Centrist Union. Nathalie is also a member of the commission of Foreign Affairs and Defense Forces. She tweets @senateur61.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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