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Pope Highlights Bond With Muslims

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd in front of Erfurt Cathedral in Erfurt, eastern Germany, September 23, 2011.

Pope Benedict has met with German Muslim leaders and called for Christianity and Islam to grow together in "dialogue and mutual esteem."

He met with several Muslim leaders in Berlin Friday, on the second day of his trip to Germany. The pope stressed the importance of religion in modern society and said he believes there can be a "fruitful collaboration" between Christians and Muslims.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict celebrated an open air mass before 70,000 Catholics at Berlin's historic Olympic Stadium.

Earlier in the day, at the start of his first state visit to his native country, the pope addressed the German parliament. He urged politicians not to sacrifice ethics for power, citing Nazi excesses in Germany as a lesson in history. He also praised German environmental efforts.

The pope's visit has also drawn thousands of protesters who marched through Berlin Thursday. Protestors carrying banners about sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism also gathered outside the airport for the pope's arrival.

At a formal welcoming ceremony at President Christian Wulff's Bellevue palace, the pontiff acknowledged the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal.

In a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, he discussed the euro crisis and turmoil on the financial markets.

The pope also met with a delegation of German Jews in the city that was once the center of Nazi power.

Germany has about 25 million Catholics, one in three people of the total population.

Some information for this report was provided by AP andAFP.