Pope Prays in Visit to Turkish Mosque

December 1, 2006

Source: Mezun Group/Los Angeles Times


Shoeless and dressed simply in white, Benedict XVI became only the second pope in modern history to enter a mosque when he prayed Thursday alongside a senior cleric in Istanbul's most majestic house of Islamic worship.

The pope toured the cavernous 17th century Blue Mosque with the grand mufti of Istanbul, gazing overhead at its intricate tile work, in his most deliberate and concrete gesture yet of conciliation toward Muslims infuriated by his comments.

"Thank you for this moment of prayer," the pope told the mufti, Mustafa Cagrici. "This visit will help us find together the way to peace for the good of humanity."

A stop at the mosque was added to the pope's itinerary at the last minute after much debate inside the Vatican, where officials were seeking ways to calm Muslim rage over comments by the pope in September that linked Islam to violence.