NAPLES, Italy (AFP) - - Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox and other Christian leaders kicked off an annual inter-faith peace summit here Sunday with calls for a formal structure linking world religions.
The pope did not formally attend the summit, organised by the Sant'Egidio community, but met and lunched with the delegates as part of a pastoral visit to this impoverished southern Italian city.
"With respect for the differences between the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and... reconciliation among peoples," he said.
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Israel's chief rabbi Yona Metzger and the imam of the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Ezzedin, were among those attending the summit.
Only one delegate appeared opposed to the talks of peace and reconciliation:
The Muslim leader however spoke harshly of "unjustified provocations in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan and ... unfair dealings in Palestine" that have prompted "some Muslim individuals and groups (to go) astray and wrong themselves by violent actions."
He added: "We are dismayed by the behaviour of some great powers who continue to act aggressively against other countries, by means of military occupation under fabricated pretexts... forced regime changes and blunt interference in other countries' affairs."
Ironic that the Muslim leader would condemn "forced regime changes and blunt interference in other countries' affairs" when you consider virtually all world conflicts involve Islamic aggression and intolerance. BTW, "unjustified provocations" can be loosely translated in Islam as "rejecting Islam and its messenger Muhammad."