Saudis sign deal with Vatican to build churches: report

Egyptian media say the kingdom has signed an agreement with the Vatican to construct churches for Christian citizens.

    French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran visited Saudi Arabia in April [File: Max Rossi/Reuters]
    French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran visited Saudi Arabia in April [File: Max Rossi/Reuters]

    Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with the Vatican to build churches for Christian citizens, according to Egyptian news media reports.

    Online newspaper Egypt Independent on Wednesday said the agreement was signed during a visit by Jean-Louis Tauran, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue at the Vatican, during his visit to the kingdom in April.

    Al Jazeera could not independently verify the contents of the purported agreement.

    In an interview with Vatican News, Tauran confirmed a declaration had been signed which paved the way for further dialogue, but did not mention building future churches in Saudi Arabia.

    Tauran met high-level officials including King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on his visit.

    "During my meetings, I insisted very much on this point, that Christians and non-Muslims are spoken of well in schools and that they are never considered second-class citizens," Tauran told Vatican Radio after his return. 

    Saudi Arabia currently bans the practice of faiths other than Islam.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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