Muslims Greet New Pope, Eye Better Ties

Pope FrancisCAIRO – Muslims worldwide have congratulated Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio for being elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, voice hope for better relations with the Vatican under the new pontiff.

“We congratulate Pope Francis on his election by the College of Cardinals and offer the Muslim community’s support and cooperation in every positive effort he will undertake for peace, justice and the betterment of humanity,” Nihad Award, the National Executive Director of the umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement obtained by on Thursday, March 14.

Bergoglio was named a pope late Wednesday after four inconclusive votes, replacing Benedict XVI, who resigned last month for health reasons.

The new pontiff, 76, the first from South America, has taken the name Francis.

He will be officially installed as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church on March 19, the Vatican said.

Bergoglio’s election has broken Europe’s centuries-old grip on the papacy.

He is also the first to take the name Francis, in honor of the 12th-century Italian saint from Assisi who spurned wealth to pursue a life of poverty.


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