Wire Service: AP
On April 5, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "On one of Pope John Paul II's last major trips four years ago, he stood in the ancient Omayyad Mosque in Syria and appealed for Christians and Muslims to seek common ground rather than confrontation. 'May the hearts of Christians and Muslims turn to one another with feelings of brotherhood and friendship,' urged the pontiff, the first pope to enter a Muslim place of worship. The words -- spoken just four months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- now stand a challenge for his successor. Just as the Cold War defined the beginning of John Paul's 26-year papacy, the rifts between the West and Islam will likely influence how the next pope measures his priorities. Relations with Islam -- and who is best equipped to handle the delicate questions -- is emerging as one of the factors that will shape the decision of the cardinals when they gather this month to pick the 265th pontiff."