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Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey (November/December 2006)
Meeting with the President of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Address by the Holy Father, 28 November 28, 2006 (here)
I have set out upon my visit to Turkey with the same sentiments as those expressed by my predecessor Blessed John XXIII, when he came here as Archbishop Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, to fulfil the office of Papal Representative in Istanbul, and I quote him: “I am fond of the Turks”, he said, “to whom the Lord has sent me … I love the Turks, I appreciate the natural qualities of these people who have their own place reserved in the march of civilization” (Journal of a Soul, pp. 228, 233-4).
For my own part, I also wish to highlight the qualities of the Turkish population. Here I make my own the words of my immediate predecessor, Pope John Paul II of blessed memory, who said on the occasion of his visit in 1979: “I wonder if it is not urgent, precisely today when Christians and Muslims have entered a new period of history, to recognize and develop the spiritual bonds that unite us, in order to preserve and promote together, for the benefit of all men, ‘peace, liberty, social justice and moral values’” (Address to the Catholic Community in Ankara, 28 November 1979)...
Christians and Muslims, following their respective religions, point to the truth of the sacred character and dignity of the person. This is the basis of our mutual respect and esteem, this is the basis for cooperation in the service of peace between nations and peoples, the dearest wish of all believers and all people of good will.
His Holiness Benedict XVI and His Eminence Grand Mufti of Istanbul Mustafa Çağrıcı
praying together, Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey, November 30, 2006
"The pope accepted the gift of a ceramic tile inscribed with the word "Allah" in the form of a dove.
Placing his hand on the tile, the pope said: "Thank you for this gift. Let us pray for brotherhood and for all humanity."
"Your Holiness, please remember us," the mufti replied."
Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Holy Land (May 8-15, 2009)
Courtesy visit to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the Mount of the Temple, Jerusalem (May 12, 2009), Address of the Holy Father here
[Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]
Dear Muslim Friends, As-salámu ‘aláikum! Peace upon you!
I cordially thank the Grand Mufti, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, together with the Director of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, Sheikh Mohammed Azzam al-Khatib al-Tamimi, and the Head of the Awquaf Council, Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, for the welcome they have extended to me on your behalf. I am deeply grateful for the invitation to visit this sacred place, and I willingly pay my respects to you and the leaders of the Islamic community in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock draws our hearts and minds to reflect upon the mystery of creation and the faith of Abraham. Here the paths of the world’s three great monotheistic religions meet, reminding us what they share in common. Each believes in One God, creator and ruler of all. Each recognizes Abraham as a forefather, a man of faith upon whom God bestowed a special blessing. Each has gained a large following throughout the centuries and inspired a rich spiritual, intellectual and cultural patrimony. In a world sadly torn by divisions, this sacred place serves as a stimulus, and also challenges men and women of goodwill to work to overcome misunderstandings and conflicts of the past and to set out on the path of a sincere dialogue aimed at building a world of justice and peace for coming generations. Since the teachings of religious traditions ultimately concern the reality of God, the meaning of life, and the common destiny of mankind – that is to say, all that is most sacred and dear to us – there may be a temptation to engage in such dialogue with reluctance or ambivalence about its possibilities for success. Yet we can begin with the belief that the One God is the infinite source of justice and mercy, since in him the two exist in perfect unity. Those who confess his name are entrusted with the task of striving tirelessly for righteousness while imitating his forgiveness, for both are intrinsically oriented to the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of the human family. For this reason, it is paramount that those who adore the One God should show themselves to be both grounded in and directed towards the unity of the entire human family. In other words, fidelity to the One God, the Creator, the Most High, leads to the recognition that human beings are fundamentally interrelated, since all owe their very existence to a single source and are pointed towards a common goal. Imprinted with the indelible image of the divine, they are called to play an active role in mending divisions and promoting human solidarity. This places a grave responsibility upon us. Those who honor the One God believe that he will hold human beings accountable for their actions. Christians assert that the divine gifts of reason and freedom stand at the basis of this accountability. Reason opens the mind to grasp the shared nature and common destiny of the human family, while freedom moves the heart to accept the other and serve him in charity. Undivided love for the One God and charity towards ones neighbor thus become the fulcrum around which all else turns. This is why we work untiringly to safeguard human hearts from hatred, anger or vengeance. Dear friends, I have come to Jerusalem on a journey of faith. I thank God for this occasion to meet you as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, but also as a child of Abraham, by whom “all the families of the earth find blessing” (Gen 12:3; cf. Rom 4:16-17). I assure you of the Church’s ardent desire to cooperate for the well-being of the human family. She firmly believes that the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham is universal in scope, embracing all men and women regardless of provenance or social status. As Muslims and Christians further the respectful dialogue they have already begun, I pray that they will explore how the Oneness of God is inextricably tied to the unity of the human family. In submitting to his loving plan for creation, in studying the law inscribed in the cosmos and implanted in the human heart, in reflecting upon the mysterious gift of God’s self-revelation, may all his followers continue to keep their gaze fixed on his absolute goodness, never losing sight of the way it is reflected in the faces of others. With these thoughts, I humbly ask the Almighty to grant you peace and to bless all the beloved people of this region. May we strive to live in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, bearing witness to the One God by generously serving one another. Thank you!
His Holiness Benedict XVI and His Eminence Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein
محمد أحمد حسين مفتي القدس والديار الفلسطينية
shaking hands, Al-Aqsa Mosque, :المسجد الاقصى , May 12, 2009
Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Cyprus (June 4-6, 2010) here
His Holiness Benedict XVI and His Excellency Sheikh Muhammad Nâzım Adil al-Qubrusi al-Haqqani
(محمد ناظم الحقاني, Mehmet, Muhammed Nazım El-Hakkani)
exchanging an embrace at the apostolic nunciature in Nicosia, Cyprus, June 5, 2010
Shaykh Nazim Meets Pope Benedict in Cyprus youtube
Monday, June 7, 2010, Pope prays for Cypriot Muslim leaderOn June 5, Pope Benedict met with Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Haquani, an 89-year-old Cypriot Muslim leader active in the field of inter-religious dialogue. The brief meeting during the pontiff's visit to Cyprus took place outside the apostolic nunciature, before the the pope's Mass in the Church of the Holy Cross. Sheikh Al-Haquani explained how he lived in northern Cyprus and had come especially to greet the Pontiff. According to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., the sheikh had excused himself for awaiting the Pope seated. "I am very old", he said, to which the Pope replied, "I am old too". Sheikh Al-Haquani gave the Pope a cane, a plaque with the word "peace" written in Arabic and a Muslim rosary. For his part, the Pope gave him a medal of his pontificate. The two men then exchanged an embrace. Before separating, the sheikh asked the Pope to pray for him, to which the Pope replied, "Of course I will, we will pray for one another". SIC: Spero