SATURDAY
March 17, 2001
volume 12, no. 76

Syrian Muslim Leader Says No Prayers with Pope



    DAMASCUS, Mar. 16, 01 (CWNews.com) - The leader of Syria's Muslims said on Friday that there would be no prayers with Pope John Paul II when the Catholic leader visits the country in May.

    Syrian Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Kiftaro said there would be no joint Muslim-Christian prayers during the visit, speculation of which had caused some conservative Muslims to protest. "Reports that a joint Christian-Muslim prayer would be conducted at the Omayyad mosque are completely untrue. No decision or a ruling has been passed by the Mufti in this respect," said a statement from Kiftaro's office. "He expressed astonishment at the circulation of such inaccurate reports without his knowledge or approval."

    "Co-existence between Muslims and Christians does not require a joint prayer. It depends on a serious and principled action to support the causes of the oppressed in the world and to protect humanity from dangers surrounding it," Kiftaro said.

    Catholic Bishop Izdor Battikha had announced on Wednesday that the Pope will visit Omayyad mosque, the first such visit to a Muslim house of prayer by a pontiff, and deliver a speech. He said the Holy Father would not pray in the building but have "a quick silent glance at the tomb of John the Baptist located inside the mosque." Muslims also revere St. John as a prophet.


March 17, 2001
volume 12, no. 76
News from the Universal Church
www.DailyCatholic.org
Return to Today's Issue