05/11/2009, 00.00
VATICAN – JORDAN
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Pope describes visit to Mosque “a splendid day”

Benedict XVI leaves Jordan and stress once again the important of religious tolerance and coexistence among Christians and Muslims. Appreciation for the Kings contribution to peace in the Middle East. According to the King Abdullah if peace negotiations are not deepened there will be war in the Middle East within a year.

Amman (AsiaNews) – In bidding farewell to Jordan and bound for Israel, Benedict XVI said “One of the highlights of these days was my visit to the Mosque Al-Hussein Bin Talal, where I had the pleasure of meeting Muslim religious leaders together with members of the diplomatic corps and University Rectors”. Speaking this morning at the airport to the King of Jordan, Abdallah II Bin Al-Hussein, once again stressed the importance of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. “I would like – he said - to encourage all Jordanians, whether Christian or Muslim, to build on the firm foundations of religious tolerance that enable the members of different communities to live together in peace and mutual respect.  His Majesty the King has been notably active in fostering inter-religious dialogue, and I want to put on record how much his commitment in this regard is appreciated. 

I also gratefully acknowledge the particular consideration that he shows towards the Christian community in Jordan.  This spirit of openness not only helps the members of different ethnic communities in this country to live together in peace and concord, but it has contributed to Jordan’s far-sighted political initiatives to build peace throughout the Middle East”.In fact yesterday in an interview with the London Times king Abdullah reconfirmed his support for Obama’s peace plan for the Middle East, which includes the solution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, as well as the territorial disputes between Syria and Lebanon. “If we delay the peace negotiations – said the King – there could be a fresh outbreak of war between Arabs or Muslims and Israel within the next 12-18 months”.

In his parting address, Benedict XVI recalled the various encounters with the Catholic communities in Jordan: the new Queen of Peace Centre, the new University in Madaba, the two new churches being built in Bethany.“As I bid you farewell, - concluded the Pope - I want you to know that I hold in my heart the people of the Hashemite Kingdom and all who live throughout this region.  I pray that you may enjoy peace and prosperity, now and for generations to come.  Thank you once again.  And may God bless all of you!”.

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