November 30, 2006


Pope turns to Mecca at Istanbul (AFP, December 01, 2006)

AFTER offending the Muslim world by linking their religion with violence, Pope Benedict XVI, in an exceptional gesture, turned towards Mecca in an attitude of Muslim prayer at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul today, Turkish state television showed.

Benedict XVI, who became the second Pope in history - after John Paul II in Damascus in 2001 - to set foot in a Muslim house of worship, made the gesture at the suggestion of Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Cagrici, his guide for the occasion.

Pope's outreach eases Muslim wariness: In Turkey, Pope Benedict XVI supported Turkey's bid to enter the European Union and visited a key mosque. (Scott Peterson, 12/01/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

Throughout his days here, the pope has chosen language that appeals to Turks' deep sense of nationalism - this "noble land" and it's "glorious past," he said, yielded a "great modern state" - and its aspiration to be seen as equal to European nations.

Coupled with effusive papal praise of Islam, by which Turkey presided over a "remarkable flowering of Islamic civilization," the pope's attempt to prove his "great esteem for Muslims" has had some effect on a skeptical public.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 30, 2006 8:27 PM
Comments for this post are closed.