During the visit he prayed at the city's central mosque, Europe's largest Muslim
This mosque was inaugurated in 1995 in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Catholic, Jewish and Buddhist faiths, who almost creamed their underwear in an orgy of tolerance, ecumenism and mutual respect.
This is just another example of the enlightened reign of Abdullah, who's a 'visionary', apparently. He’s introduced progressive new legislation, for instance making it an offence for Saudis to murder foreign workers, and has raised the minimum age of marriage for girls to ten years.
And that's not all. Three weeks ago, he hosted a three-day interfaith conference in Madrid, during which Abdullah “called for reconciliation among various religions”. According to an International Herald Tribune report, the meeting drew about 200 representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism and other religions.
So no surprise then that when I saw the news that a new cathedral is to be built in Riyadh for the country’s 1.5 million Christians, most of them poverty-stricken immigrants from the Philippines.
But wait! Sorry, I’m confused. In fact I'm all of a dither today since I found out that there was a Nigerian in my home town with an honest job and not claiming welfare. My brain has been frazzled since.
No, I'm confused with another event in
"The first officer to enter the house after breaking down the main gate pointed a pistol at the Christians and ordered them to hand over their resident permits and mobile phones," the report said. "The other 11 police followed quickly and started searching the entire house. The confiscated an electronic drum set, an offering box with 500 Saudi Riyal in it ($130), 20 Bibles, and a few Christian books."
The worshippers initially faced accusations of preaching and singing. Well now, that I can understand. "During the raid, the police mocked, questioned and harassed the Christians for four hours. Then they took them to a police station where the head of the station interrogated them." The Christians will all be deported for, as I said, being Christian.
Must check if this came up in the meeting between Abdullah and Ben.