AMMAN - Pope Benedict XVI stressed his deep respect for Islam on Friday in Jordan, on his first trip as pontiff to an Arab state.
Responding to a welcome address from King Abdullah II, the pope said his visit "gives me a welcome opportunity to speak of my deep respect for the Muslim community, and to pay tribute to the leadership shown by His Majesty the King in promoting a better understanding of the virtues proclaimed by Islam."
"I come to Jordan as a pilgrim, to venerate holy places that have played such an important part in some of the key events of Biblical history," he said.
The pope received a red carpet welcome from King Abdullah II and Queen Rania at Queen Alia Airport's royal pavilion as Jordanian artillery fired a salute in his honour.
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