Pope meets Islamic leader from Turkish Cyprus

Pope Benedict held an unplanned meeting with a Turkish Islamic leader from Turkish Cyprus on Saturday.

Pope meets Islamic leader from Turkish Cyprus

Pope Benedict held an unplanned meeting with a Turkish Islamic leader from Turkish Cyprus on Saturday.

Benedict had a brief encounter with Sheikh Nazim, the 88-year-old head of the Islamic Naqshbandi sect based in Turkish Cyprus, the Vatican said.

A Islamic leader, Nazim is the 41st sheikh in the line of the sect, which adheres to a mystical form of Islam. It claims hundreds of thousands of followers and is growing in popularity across Europe and the U.S.

The encounter took place outside the small Holy Cross Church, which is in the buffer zone, a no-man's-land splitting Cyprus east to west and patrolled by United Nations troops.

"I am happy to come here to visit a great man .... may Allah grant him a good life here and hereafter," Nazim told reporters as he arrived at the Church complex which has served as the residence for the pope during his three-day trip.

"I am happy ... I hope that despite our faults our hearts are moving in the same direction," said Nazim, whose followers include singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens.

Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Haziran 2010, 10:42
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