Pope Francis has taken part in a Muslim prayer alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul on the second leg of his three -day visit to Turkey.
Francis stood on Saturday morning with his head bowed and hands clasped in front of him in a two minutes of silent prayer inside the 17th-century Sultan Ahmet mosque , aiming to show respect for Islam and encourage stronger ties between the two faiths .
” May God accept it, ” Rahmi Yaran , the Grand Mufti of Istanbul told the pope at the end of the prayer.
Earlier, Yaran gave Francis a tour of the mosque which is famed for its elaborate blue tiles and cascading domes and better known as the Blue Mosque .
Francis then visited the nearby Haghia Sofia, which was
the main Byzantine church in Constantinople – present – day Istanbul – before being turned into a mosque following the Muslim conquest of the city in 1453 . The Haghia Sophia is now museum, although some Islamic groups want it to be converted back into a mosque .
A few dozen well – wishers outside Haghia Sophia waved a combination of the Turkish and the flag of the Holy See.