VATICAN CITY, Vatican (November 6,2008) - The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric met today with former soldier of Adolf Hitler - Pope Benedict XVI, at historic talks held in the Vatican City aimed at defusing tensions between Muslims and Catholics.
He thanked the pope for his "warm hospitality," and reminded the pontiff that his predecessor, John Paul II, had prayed for him during the three-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia in the 1990s.
Reisu-l-ulema Mustafa Ef. Ceric, who headed the Muslim representatives in the forum, said the talks represented a "great step," both for Muslim-Christian relations and for "the whole of humanity."
The forum was to wrap up three days of talks at the Vatican with a public session later today.
"I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need," Pope Benedict told attendees of the Muslim-Catholic Forum.
The forum stems from an October 2007 open letter sent by 138 Muslim representatives to the pope and to the heads of other Christian churches, inviting them to engage in dialogue.
The letter proposed working together to avoid a repetition of incidents such as the violent protests in the Islamic world triggered by the 2005 publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons depicting the Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammed.
Under the theme "Love of God, Love of Neighbour," the talks also represent the latest move in rapprochement between the Vatican and Muslims since Pope Benedict XVI (who was a soldier of Adolf Hitler during the World War II...click here and here to find out more about this historical fact) offended Islam in his controversial speech in 2006. The pontiff's speech sparked outrage in the Muslim world..
Benedict on Thursday, stressed "fundamental human rights," which he said, Christians and Muslims shared.
"Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual's freedom of conscience and freedom of religion," the pontiff told forum members, including representatives from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI was born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927).
When he was 14,Pope Benedict XVI became a Hitler Youth member.
When he was 16, Pope Benedict XVI became a soldier of Adolf Hitler's genocidal fascist German army......he was a helper in an anti-aircraft briagde.In 1945, he was put through basic training and stationed near his hometown in Bavaria.
In 1945 Pope Benedict XVI was captured by American soldiers and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.
(click here and here to find out more about these historical facts)