Church and Religion
Turkish mufti would not match Pope"s gestureAnkara, Dec. 6, 2006 (CWNews.com) - Turkey’s top Islamic official has conceded that he would not be prepared to make the sort of gesture that Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) made last week, when the Holy Father prayed silently at the Blue Mosque.
In response to a journalist’s question about a reciprocal gesture, Ali Bardakoglu, the government’s religion minister, said: “It is not right to expect that others will pray as the Pope did.”
The Turkish mufti said that the basis for inter-faith dialogue should be the fact that “we respect the beliefs, values, and character of others.” He declined to say that he would be willing to visit a Christian church. He said: “It is not right for an imam to have to put on a cross and pray before the Virgin Mary, or priests to pray in mosques.”
Bardakoglu met with Pope Benedict on November 28, during the first day of the Pontiff's visit to Turkey. At that meeting the Turkish official said that Islam condemns violence, and-- in a barely veiled criticism of the Pope's speech at Regensburg-- said that fears of Islamic violence are fueled by "Islamophobia" based on inadequate understanding of the faith.
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