Pope makes historic mosque visit, appears to pray





ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Pope Benedict visited Istanbul's Blue Mosque on Thursday and appeared to pray alongside an Islamic cleric during the visit that made him only the second Roman Catholic Pontiff to enter a mosque.

The dramatic gesture was seen as yet another attempt by the Pope at reconciliation after he infuriated much of the Muslim world with comments taken as indicating he believed Islam was violent and irrational.

The Pope took off his shoes and donned what looked like white cloth slippers when he entered the mosque and was told about its history and architecture by Istanbul's Grand Mufti Mustafa Cagrici.

Toward the end of the visit, which lasted about 20 minutes, the two stood side by side for about a minute. The Pope kept his arms crossed at his waist. His lips could be seen moving silently.


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