Pope speaks to Muslims, others, about faith

AP – Pope speaks to Muslims, others, about faith

Pope Benedict XVI denounced fundamentalist fanaticism as he addressed cultural figures, including Muslim leaders, at the start of a French pilgrimage Friday, which enflamed debate in Paris over the influence religion should have on politics.

In separate remarks, including in a speech to conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Benedict encouraged a role for religion in shaping public policy, a stand that quickly enraged some of France’s staunch advocates of secularism.

…Several Muslim leaders were among the 600 guests invited to listen to the pope in the College des Bernadins, a former monastery that was a temple of learning for medieval Christian monks

…Muslim leaders said they were impressed by the pope’s high-flying intellectual discourse but said they had hoped to hear concrete answers to the divide between Muslim and Christian communities.

“We would have liked also that he give a few signs on the Islamic-Christian dialogue, on the church’s mission, which is to reach out to others, and on our shared values,” said the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur.

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