Pope to pray in mosque
John Paul II is to become the first leader of the Catholic Church to set foot in a mosque when he visits Syria in May, a church official said on Monday.
The Holy Father is hoping that by entering the Umayyed mosque in Damascus - the site of the tomb of John the Baptist - he will underline his attempts to bring Christianity and Islam closer together.
Officials organising the Pope's itinerary, said it would be the first time that Christians and Muslims would pray together in an organised way.
The Pope would lead the Christian side of the prayer and Syria's mufti, Sheikh Ahmed Kataro, the Muslim side.
In 1986, Pope John Paul was the first Pontiff to enter a synagogue after he visited one in Rome.
The mosque visit is scheduled for 6 May in the middle of the pope's three-day pilgrimage to the Holy Lands, which has already taken him to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.