Vatican: Grand Sheik from Cairo to meet with Pope

The grand sheik at the highest theological college in the Muslim Sunni world has agreed to meet with Pope Benedict XVI in Rome, the Vatican said Tuesday. Cardinal Paul Poupard, who leads the Vatican's commission on relations with Muslims, extended greetings from the pontiff as well as the invitation during a meeting with Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, grand sheik at the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. The invitation "was accepted with satisfaction," the Vatican said. No date was announced for the visit. Benedict has been trying to improve Christian relations with the Muslim world, particularly after a speech which he gave in September at a German university that linked Islam to violence angered many Muslims. The pontiff has said he regretted that a citation in the speech had offended Muslims. Benedict's predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, visited the Cairo institute in 2000.