BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Monday, 29 April, 2002, 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK
Vatican reaches out to Islamic world
Pope John Paul II
The agreement aims to promote "liberty of religion"
test hello test
By David Willey
BBC correspondent in Rome
line

The Vatican has signed an unprecedented agreement with the Government of Turkey to promote religious dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Pope ordains a new bishop in the Vatican
Muslim world has no central authority and no equivalent of bishops and cardinals

The agreement, signed at the Vatican last Friday, was made public only today and was initialled by Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Head of the Papal Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and by Mehmet Yilmaz, the Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs office.

It breaks new ground in the Vatican's current attempts to reach out towards the Islamic world.

It is the first time the Vatican has signed such an agreement with the government of a predominantly Muslim country as apart from with a religious institution.

Connections 'difficult'

The Vatican already has established links with one of the most prestigious universities in the Muslim world, the al-Azhar mosque in Cairo.

However the Pope's advisers on inter-religious dialogue have always found it difficult to establish new connections with the Muslim world which has no central authority and no equivalent to the Pope and his hierarchy of cardinals and bishops.

Therefore, a senior Vatican official explained that as there is no great difference within the Muslim world between religious and governmental authorities, the official partner in this case is a department of the Turkish Government.

The Vatican's agreement with Turkey promotes liberty of religion, of belief and of conscience and aims to eliminate prejudices.

See also:

23 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Pope urges harmony between faiths
07 May 01 | Middle East
Mosque visit crowns Pope's tour
29 Mar 01 | World
Pope reaches out to Islam
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories