News / Middle East

Pope Invites Muslim, Jewish Leaders to Vatican

Pope Francis Meets Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Leadersi
Scott Bobb
May 26, 2014 4:24 PM
Pope Francis is completing his trip to the Middle East with a series of meetings with religious and political leaders in Israel. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Pope Francis Meets Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Leaders
Scott Bobb
Pope Francis met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres Monday as he wrapped up his three-day trip to the Middle East.

Netanyahu told the pope why he believes Israel needed to build a separation barrier around the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

The Israeli prime minister said that when incitement and terror against Israel ends, there will not be a need for the wall, where Pope Francis stopped and prayed on Sunday.

Peres thanked the pope for making efforts to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Pope Francis invited Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the Vatican in June to pray for peace and both men accepted his invitation.

Papal prayers

Also Monday, the pope prayed and laid a wreath at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem museum, which commemorates the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust.
He also placed a wreath on the grave of the father of modern Israel, Theodor Herzl. He also met with the two chief rabbis of Jerusalem.
Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, MayPope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
Earlier, the pope met with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein at the Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Dome of the Rock. Speaking at the shrine, he said a visit to the Holy Land would not be complete without a meeting with the Muslim communities.
Speaking in Latin, the pope made a heartfelt plea to all people and communities who look to Abraham, calling on all to respect and love one another as brothers and sisters. He also called for those present to learn to understand the sufferings of others.
The pontiff also prayed at the Wailing Wall.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, said for too many years, religion was a source of division. He said that from the wall, which is sacred to the pope, the rabbi, and to millions more around the globe, he called on people of all religions to fight hatred and anti-Semitism.

Holy site

On Sunday evening, Pope Francis met with Orthodox ecumenical leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where many believe Jesus Christ was crucified and buried
Standing as pilgrims in these holy places, we remember in our prayers the entire Middle East, so frequently and lamentably marked by acts of violence and conflict, said Francis. He said we do not forget the many people in the world who are suffering from war, poverty, hunger and persecution.
Patriarch Bartholomew lamented what he called racial discrimination and religious extremism in contemporary society.
"Religious fanaticism already threatens peace in many regions of the globe, where the very gift of life is sacrificed on the altar of religious hatred. In the face of such conditions, the message of the life-giving tomb is urgent and clear: Love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions," said Bartholomew.
The two leaders then embraced. The meeting marked a similar encounter between their predecessors 50 years ago that launched reconciliation efforts after centuries of conflict between the two churches.
The pope on Sunday said mass and met refugees in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. He stopped his convoy to pray at the separation barrier that surrounds most of the city.
On Saturday he said mass in Amman, Jordan and met Syrian refugees near the site on the Jordan River where many believe Jesus was baptized.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John Stefanyszyn from: Canada
June 07, 2014 11:34 AM
...but to which ‘god’ will Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”), President Peres, and President Abbas be praying to for peace at the Vatican since neither prays to the “same god”?
Abbas……..Sunni Islam

In addition to this,
: the Catholic religion has redefined Christ to be a representative of political religion, of religious liberty & compromise, under the way of the Roman empire.
:the Judaic religion rejects Jesus Christ as the Son of God...referring to Him as a blasphemer and false prophet.
:the religion of Islam also denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God & that He was only a prophet that was not resurrected and not the One Way of Forgiveness /Salvation, claiming instead that Muhammad was the last true messenger (via self righteousness).

So to which ‘god’ will they be praying for “peace”?
:::::But there is one common “call it religion” that all three worship, believe in, glorify, and live by.
….they will be praying to the ‘god’ of FREEDOM...freedom of self-rights, freedom of self-religions.
….Bergoglio….freedom of rights and religions for the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the “non believers”, and the “others”.
….Peres…...freedom and rights for Israel ( and they believe that it is right for them to repossess all of the land for Israel)
….Abbas...freedom and rights for the state and land of Palestine...the land that they believe is rightly theirs.
= each believes his way to be right in their own eyes = I will serve and do good for myself first (XES), my neighbor second = way of conflict (and not peace) as Cain killed his brother Abel.

And this ‘god of fortresses’ dictates that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free to worship ANY ‘god’.

But there is Only One Creator, whose identity is clearly defined by His Son Jesus Christ….and He said that we are to worship the One and Only Creator and Him Alone, His Will Alone to serve in obedience and love….love for Him and love for the neighbor….and not “my rights”.

Note...soon the Lord Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the One and Only Creator and NOT according to man’s first love for “his freedom”.....and man will weep and clench his teeth in anger when “his self-freedom” will be no more.

John Stefanyszyn

by: Magnus Botchway from: Nsawam
May 27, 2014 10:56 AM
just yesterday my driver I work with him said he read the koran and the bible, now pope has invite middle east leaders for peace on june coming,if pope could invite them and is good for moslem to read the bible why can't both religion accept?this I want to know

by: Jude Ikezu from: Lagos, Nigeria
May 26, 2014 8:56 PM
Peace is needed all over the world especially in all war torn nations. Thank God for the wonderful move by Pope Francis I to reconcile the Faiths. I believe with sincere co-operation of all and sundry, the entire world will experience peace in near future. Thank God for your courage and wisdom dear, His Holiness, Pope Francis I.

by: amir from: new jersey
May 26, 2014 2:58 PM
There is no current chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He met the chief Rabbis of Israel.

by: Nisar Siddiqui
May 26, 2014 11:54 AM
V good effort by pop may Allah bring us all together as v all believe that Abraham Alaisalam was too true prophet and great grand father of all our Prophet and the last Prophet Mohammad may peace be upon Him was His Great Great Son.

by: salome wambui from: kenya
May 26, 2014 8:53 AM
We are one in the Spirit and in the Lord.Thank you Pope Francis for bringing different Religious Communities together.Your presence meant a lot and has increased the faith of some unbelievers.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 26, 2014 8:14 AM
iI want to react to Pope's earlier statement at Bethlehem where he said, “The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in a protracted conflict that has inflicted many wounds.” Yes Pope, we agree. But first and foremost to agree that the land – Bethlehem – in the land of Judea where he stood and made the statement has been known to belong to Israel from ancient times, even in the bible. Today it is occupied by Palestinians. That Israel has not gone forcefully to take it over shows the magnanimity the Pope is preaching has been in the works over time by Israel. And there are so many such places right now occupied by what was known then as Gentiles.

But aside from this show of charity by Israel, the Pope should not lose sight of the fact of those holy sites to Christianity and perhaps other religions too. What is happening in Iraq, Libya and Mali should be good eye openers to the fact that islam may one day rise to either take over these onerous Christian holy sites or declare them null and void to both destroy and bare Christians and other religions pilgrimages to them. Right as we speak, the Pope may have forgotten the Holy Temple of Jerusalem that the muslims have taken over as their holy site, and with the birth of the Arab Spring which has done nothing but elevate terrorism to state heights, there is no indication the muslims will respect the right of the Christians and others to these holy sites, especially for Christian worship or to share same with the Christians in case they find any reason to have dual respect for such holy sites in islam.

Yes Pope, we agree to share neighborhood with them, even to absorb them in the Jewish state of Israel, but when they ask to be in charge seems they are asking for too much. On a second thought, since these formerly unknown people who occupied the land that was called the land of Israel, the land of the Jews, who should be integrated into the country of Israel but have refused, yet magnanimously accommodated by the new state of Israel, can be granted greater autonomy they are looking for based on what the original owners of the land have to offer. The Pope should summon the Arab and Islamic leaders to his office to discuss this point so that the much desired peace may return to the Middle East - IF HE MEANS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

by: jean brown from: saint mary of the woods
May 26, 2014 7:12 AM
God of heaven and earth.....heal this broken world.....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs