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Trump to give speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia

President Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman meet at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 14, 2017. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

(RNS) President Trump will deliver an “inspiring yet direct” speech on the need to confront radical ideologies during his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.

The speech will come during an afternoon lunch with leaders of more than 50 countries with mostly Muslim populations, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster announced Tuesday (May 16).

In it, the president will share his hopes for a “peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world,” McMaster said. He also said the speech will demonstrate America’s commitment to what he called its “Muslim partners” and aim to “unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization.”

Afterward, Trump will participate in the opening of a new center to “fight radicalization and promote moderation,” according to the adviser.

“By establishing and operating the center, our Muslim friends, including Saudi Arabia, are taking a firm stand against extremism and those who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminal and political agendas,” McMaster said.

Details of the president’s speech on Islam come the day after U.S. appeals court judges questioned whether Trump’s temporary travel ban discriminates against Muslims. The two executive actions, which have been widely seen as a “Muslim ban” and blocked by courts, temporarily ban people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries and follow the president’s campaign promise to ban all Muslims from entering the country.

The president has delivered many speeches on Christianity to mixed reviews, most recently giving the commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the nation’s largest Christian university. He also has spoken to Jewish and Hindu audiences at the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the U.S. Capitol and a fundraising event held by the Republican Hindu Coalition.

Trump leaves for his first foreign trip as president on Friday. The trip will begin in Saudi Arabia and also will include stops in Israel, where McMaster said the president will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and say a prayer at the Western Wall, and the Vatican, where he is scheduled to meet Pope Francis and tour St. Peter’s Basilica.

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

31 Comments

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  • With Comey getting fired last week and this announcement this week, we now know who had the job of keeping the keys to Air Force One hidden.

  • I can hardly wait for this: “Islam is just the best religion. The very best.”

    If we’re lucky, it will get the Values Voters into a Terrible Tizzy.

  • Wonderful! He will be a great force for ecumenicism and cooperation between tje world’s 2 largest faiths! He will disprove those who accuse him of prejadice! He burned Israel’s intelligence source the other day as a show of good faith ahead of the trip. He meant to do that!

    As a devout Christian i have great respect for the Muslims. Only by working with them can we combat the Satanic forces of athiesm, liberalism and sexual immorality.

    The Muslim world is on the Trump Train. Everyone else better get on board or get run over! Last stop: God’s Kingdom on earth! Christian countries for Christians, Muslim countries for Muslims! EVERYONE OBEYS!

  • If I didn’t read this on the RNS would have suspected it was a story planted by The Onion. I too really like the tweets, Best tweets ever, believe me. 🙂

  • The situation in the Middle East is arguably the most-dangerous in the world. At this point many Arab states — Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. — are in shambles and the rest are ripe for civil war (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.) Regardless of one’s politics, does anyone really believe that President Trump will positively represent US interests or improve the situation? Does he not have enough domestic problems with which to deal?

  • The buffoon in the Offal Office knows little about Christianity and even less about Islam. His speech should be a real howl.

  • Where has the funding come from that encouraged many muslim extremist? Saudi Arabia either from its wealthy families or government. We need to get away from the West’s dependency on Middle Eastern oil and make these dysfunctional governments fall or change. The West’s involvement in the Middle East dating to pre WW1 through today has only lead to more problems from the drawing up of borders creating ungovernable nations to our obsession with oil. Playing nice with the Saudis will not accomplish anything.

  • Yes and huuuuuuge with just a bunch of really great guys who have done only wonderful things.

  • I think his best bet will be to dangle Jared on a string in front of them saying, “Your eyes are getting heavy. You are getting sleepy. Very Sleepy. The sleepiest you ever been.”

  • That’s probably the real, honest reason that the same structures were not rebuilt on the site, aside from the obvious internal design flaws that made them so vulnerable to that form of attack. Both buildings were designed in an era of arrogance over pushing the structural limits of materials under the best of conditions.

  • Obviously he won’t be writing it so not a problem. Unless he goes off script. That could be embarrassing for we Americans.

  • On 9.10.01 you probably could have found many New Yorkers who considered them unattractive. I remember Trump about a year later proposing his version of a new WTC, which essentially was rebuilt twin towers with buttressing around them to prevent what happened the first time (center core destroyed, no structural elements on the outside, towers fell). They looked about as good as the rest of his projects.

  • This is nuts. Trump is not an expert on spirituality. He has a splattering of knowledge about Christianity from Jerry Falwell Jr. and a splattering of knowledge of Judaism from Ivanka and Jared his son-in-law. And he knows nothing about Islam.

  • He should first practice on making deals with his own party which controls Congress. He should forget about trying to solve the problems of 2000 old frictions between the worlds’ religions. A lot smarter heads have failed where Trump’s arrogance might tread.

  • President Trump should include “Birth Rate Control ( No more than two kids per couple )” as it is essential to check Global Warming as well as Terrorism. All Religions must make their Commandments to be Relevant for Present Times to ensure Peaceful, Healthy and Happy existence of Humanity on mother Earth.

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