VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS) - This afternoon in Nicosia, the Pope met with Sheikh Mehmet Nazim Adil Al-Haquani, an 89-year-old Cypriot Muslim leader active in the field of inter-religious dialogue.
The brief meeting took place outside the apostolic nunciature, before the Holy Father's Mass in the church of the Holy Cross. Sheikh Al-Haquani explained how he lived in northern Cyprus and had come especially to greet the Pontiff. According to Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., the sheikh had excused himself for awaiting the Pope seated. "I am very old", he said, to which the Pope replied, "I am old too".
Sheikh Al-Haquani gave the Pope a cane, a plaque with the word "peace" written in Arabic and a Muslim rosary. For his part, the Pope gave him a medal of his pontificate. The two men then exchanged an embrace. Before separating, the sheikh asked the Pope to pray for him, to which the Pope replied: "Of course I will, we will pray for one another".
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