Clerics of the world’s two largest faiths are meeting at the Vatican this week to improve relations between the long-divided communities. Muslim clerics invited Christians to dialogue after comments Pope Benedict made in 2006 that implied Islam was violent and irrational. The mostly male Vatican members and imams will have an audience with the pope Thursday as the meeting culminates, Reuters reports.
The biennial event—which follows similar meetings with Anglicans and US Protestants—marks an urgent effort by Muslims to boost understanding of their faith. Though most delegates reported a “very cordial atmosphere,” a Catholic warned, “we can only have a real dialogue if all believers have equal rights everywhere, which is not the case in some Muslim countries.”