.- Muslim organizers of an inter-religious symposium in Antioch, Turkey, have expressed their intention to invite Pope Benedict XVI to the gathering later this month, reported AsiaNews. The Nuncio of Ankara, Edmond Farhat, has said he supports the presence of the Pope in Turkey for the meeting, Sept. 25-30.
The symposium, titled “Meeting of civilizations”, is reportedly the first such gathering planned by Muslims.
Prefect Abdulkadir Sari, the mayor of Antioch, and Muslim leaders have been promoting the initiative, which aims to boost peace and dialogue between civilizations and religions. Organizers expect 170 participants.
Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Turkish Islamic Party has also expressed his support for the symposium, saying that Hatay is “an important example” for Europe.
Antioch is the capital city of the southern Turkish region of Hatay, where Islam, Christianity and Judaism coexist peacefully.
UNESCO is considering recognizing Hatay as a “Region of dialogue.”