WASHINGTON — A group of prominent U.S. evangelical figures, including several of President Trump’s evangelical advisers, met Thursday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose role in the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi remains unclear.

In a statement that included smiling photos, the group said “it is our desire to lift up the name of Jesus whenever we are asked and wherever we go.”

The meeting at the royal palace in Riyadh comes amid widespread questions about the role the prince played in the operation that left Khashoggi dead after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Allies of the crown prince are trying to rally support for him.

In the statement, the group said it was the first time the crown prince had met with American evangelicals.

White evangelicals have been among Trump’s most devoted supporters and have met in recent months with other Middle Eastern leaders whom they see as allies in pressuring Iran.

The evangelical leaders believe they will gain more tolerance for Christian minorities in their diplomatic efforts in places such as Egypt, where the same group went last fall to meet with President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, and the United Arab Emirates, where they stopped for four days of meetings with top leaders before coming to Saudi Arabia.

Critics note that government-sponsored discrimination against Christians continues in the region, especially in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and that there is intense repression in those countries of political prisoners and journalists held without trial.

Group spokesman Johnnie Moore, who also serves as the White House’s unofficial liaison to a group of well-known conservative evangelicals, said Khashoggi’s killing and other human rights issues were “discussed” Thursday with the Saudi prince. He declined to say more.

In a later email, public relations executive A. Larry Ross, who was in the group, told The Washignton Post that question of human rights and Khashoggi were the first the group raised with the prince.