Pope to visit mosque during upcoming Turkey visit

November 26, 2006 15:46


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Pope Benedict XVI will visit Istanbul's Blue Mosque during his pilgrimage to Turkey, the Vatican spokesman said Sunday. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, who confirmed the stop, previously had said a visit to the mosque would be a "sign of respect" to Muslims. The Nov. 28-Dec. 1 pilgrimage comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Islam and is the pope's first visit to a predominantly Muslim nation. Lombardi gave no details on Sunday, but on Friday he said that officials were looking into a brief stop at the mosque after the pope visits the Haghia Sophia museum on Thursday. It would be Benedict's first visit to a mosque since becoming pope in 2005. His predecessor, John Paul II, visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria, in 2001, a papal first.

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