For the second time since becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict will visit a mosque today, as his delicate trip to the Middle East continues.
Later he will go to Israel and the Palestinian territories. But his tour has begun in Jordan, with a warm welcome from well-wishers. Syrian tourist Riva Haddad said:“It is a great feeling actually just to see him and be next to him and just to shake his hand, to touch him. It is a great feeling, a divine feeling.” Jordan’s Royal Family rolled out the red carpet for the Pope who said this visit was an opportunity to express his “deep respect” for Islam. But, as he prepares to meet Muslim religious leaders at Amman’s largest mosque, some in the country remain angry over a speech made by the pontiff in 2006. “We are asking him for an official apology to all Muslims over the insult and we do not welcome his visit,” said one man in the capital. The Pope angered Muslims by quoting a medieval text, appearing to link Islam and violence. He later stressed the views he quoted were not his own.