Pope on meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II

Pope Benedict XVI met Monday with Jordan's King Abdullah II, who called the talks a positive step in developing honest dialogue between the Islamic world and the West.

Abdullah said in an opinion piece published Monday in the Corriere della Sera newspaper that his audience with the pope was part of the effort to build a dialogue between Islam and the West and that it "will take forward a positive and respectful dialogue between our two faiths."

Benedict has echoed similar themes in past comments about terrorism and relations with Muslims, the AP says.

Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania, met with the pope at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

In his editorial, Abdullah called on the international community to reject attempts by extremists to create a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.

He said such a clash weakens efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the world.

"All of us must assume the responsibility to reject hatred, ignorance and violence," Abdullah said. "This requires an honest and continuous dialogue between the West and the Islamic world."

During his meeting with Muslim leaders last month in Cologne, Germany, the pope invited Muslims to join Christians in trying to combat the spread of terrorism and "turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism" behind it.

Abdullah said Jordan's government had launched an initiative, the "Amman Message," which calls on Muslims to reject extremism, embrace moderation and tolerate other religions. He said the initiative sought to "unite the voices of moderation that constitute the majority of Muslims here in Italy, in Jordan and across the world."

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