Past comments of Pope Benedict XVI about Islam have hurt his standing among Muslims worldwide, but his conciliatory visit to Turkey, and support of the nation's membership in the European Union, should help repair the damage, scholars say.
The pope planned to visit a mosque and meet with Turkey's president, in addition to other religious leaders. And yesterday, Pope Benedict reversed his position on Turkey joining the European Union and said he supported membership for the country.
That right is particularly important to Christians in Turkey, [Chester Gillis] said. The Rev. Drew Christiansen, a Jesuit priest, adviser to Catholic bishops on international affairs and editor in chief of America magazine, said the pontiff's plans to visit the Blue Mosque are also important.
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