Pope Meets With Head of International Islamic Organization

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013-300x200ROME – The pope met with the head of an international Islamic organization on Friday, a meeting that was characterized as the first-ever for the group.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), sat down with Pope Francis at the Vatican in an effort to create dialogue between the Muslim and Roman Catholic worlds. A news release from OIC outlined that the presence of Muslims has increased in “historically Christian countries.”

“In this context, the discussions expressed the need for greater efforts to foster respect for religious pluralism and cultural diversity, and to counter the spread of bigotry and prejudices,” the group explained. “It was stressed that interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world, and as such it is a duty for adherents of all faith traditions.”

OIC also advised that Ihsanoglu discussed with the Pope “his vision regarding the need for a ‘historic reconciliation’ between Islam and Christianity based on the common Abrahamic roots and in order to support multiculturalism and harmonious societies.”

According to Rome Reports, the two exchanged gifts following the talks, with Ihsanoglu donating a 14th century publication–presumably Islamic–to the Vatican library, and Pope Francis giving Ihsanoglu and his entourage his papal medallion. The pope then asked the men for their prayers and posed for photographs.
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