Thursday, November 30, 2006
The other side of the Muslim world
It's been a day of startling imagery, and not-so-startling diplomacy.

In Istanbul, Turkey, where we spent the start of the week, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque. He is only the second pope ever to set foot inside a mosque, and while this trip has lacked much of the pageantry and passion of a John Paul II papal trip, it was historic and important.

I read your comments earlier in the week about what you wanted and expected to hear from this Pope in Turkey, and I'm curious to hear how you think the trip went. Will it improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church? What about between Christians and Muslims?

One of the things I think we really saw in Turkey was a side of the Muslim world we rarely focus on. The extremists so often dominate our coverage that it's easy to think they are the majority of Muslims, when certainly that is not the case around the world, and especially not in Turkey.

We are in Amman, Jordan, again tonight, covering this day of diplomacy. If anyone expected something new to come out of the meeting between President Bush and Iraq Prime Minister al-Maliki, then today would have disappointed them.

While there continues to be talk of stepping up the training of Iraqi security forces, there does not seem to be any new plan or strategy. We learned more details about what the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group is going to propose, but again, the prospects for major change seem to be slim right now.

We'll be covering all the day's developments tonight. We'll also discuss Iraq and the Middle East with former President Jimmy Carter. See you tonight from Amman.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 4:13 PM ET
  75 Comments
I feel relieved ..to see Pope Benedict XVI as cordial in his approach, unlike his lecture in Germany ...hope this is his sincere prayer and not a political effort to bring Turkey in EE .
Posted By Anonymous Rupa , Boston ,MA : 4:32 PM ET
Anderson-
I agree that we really did see another side to the Muslim world, one that we don't see very much. I took a Politics of Islamic Countries this past semester, I learned more about Islam than I could have imagined. For instance, we hear a lot about Sunni and Shiites but until a few months ago I had no idea what they were, and how similar they really are. Their culture is very fascinating, but more fascinating is how many misconceptions we have about the religion. For instance, Jihad is a holy war, but there's more than one type. In my view the religion gets used as a political tool- both by us and by Radical Islamists- and as a result we don't have a very accurate view of it. I hope that we get more coverage of this side of the Islamic world, and are more able to really understand that culture. I keep thinking that if more people did then the war would be fought very differently.
Great job this past week and Stay Safe!
Posted By Anonymous Claire, Marquette, MI : 4:45 PM ET
Hey Anderson, good to hear from you.
I must admit I was very surprised at the lack of protests by Muslims over the Pope's visit. After all we had seen on TV when he made that unfortunate remark I half expected all hell to break loose. I think it's shown us a much needed good side of the Muslim religion. It was quite fascinating seeing the orderliness of the people in Turkey. Muslims are too often portrayed in a negative light. Thanks for showing us this side. It just may help us all to have a better understanding and respect for the religion.
Take care
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario, Canada : 4:52 PM ET
hello Mr. Anderson Cooper It is nice that the visit of Pope Benedict in Istanbul were fine. I think there will be improvement in some other aspects we may not experience this present time but there will be improvement.

this is a great oppurtunity for us to see and to hear some stories from the people of istanbul, stories that I have'nt heard like a story of honor killings. some of them saying rules are rules.

regards to all staff and crew of AC360!
we're looking foward for tonights show!
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 4:54 PM ET
I really enjoyed your coverage of Turkey, but I was not exactly impressed by the pope's visit. I don't think he accomplished very much on his visit or at least not all that he could have. While he certainly does seem to lack the passion or charisma of Pope John Paul II, he still carries the ability to make great change and I think that so far he has failed to do so. I think the only way that the world can move past the Pope's September comments is for him to actually apologize for them. His only apology was for the reaction to his words and not the words themselves, which is not going to calm any anger. From the coverage I have seen it does not appear that much has changed in terms of relations between Christians and Muslims and probably will not change for a long term. Understanding is a process that will require everyone to be willing to learn about other faiths and to, if not condone, at least be willing to allow them to exist in peace.
I was amazed by the beauty and history of Istanbul and I look forward to studying there next year. Your piece on the 2003 terror attacks, however, scared my already nervous mother even more. In the future it would be nice to see more emphasis on the fact that while extremists exist in Islam, as they do in all religions, that the majority of Muslims are in fact peaceful people.
I am looking forward to the show tonight and as always I hope that you and your crew stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Hiram, OH : 5:05 PM ET
Hello Anderson,

I found your reports from Turkey to be very informative. I got a good sense of how Turkey is on the crossroads between East and West and the tension that this brings. In particular, I was interested to see the large number of women in modern dress. Rick Steves, the travel guy on PBS, has filmed several shows from Turkey and his guide is a smart attractive modern Mulim woman who dons a scraf when she has to and goes bare headed the rest of the time.

I think the Pope did all right. I am not Catholic, but the issue of reproprocity is of concern to all Christians. I am glad he on the one hand softened his stand on Turkey joining the EU, but on the other hand did not back down from bringing up the issue of religious tolerance being a two way street. However, do I think his trip will have any impact on relations between the Muslim and Christian worlds? Not really. Our differences are too great and have been politicized to boot. Regarding the schism with the Orthodox Church, I don't know. However, I think it is presumptuous for the Pope to speak for "the Church" when there are a whole lot of Christians who are Protestant but not Roman Catholic. May be he should have taken a Lutheran or a Baptist along with him. If they had all celebrated mass/holy communion together, now that would have been something!

Take care and have a safe trip home.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte Doisy, Stockton, CA : 5:06 PM ET
Hey AC: I don't know if his visit will really have an impact on relations between the 2 cultures but he had a choice to go make amends and try to be more openminded and respect their culture and provoque dialogue. It's a long-term thing (we'll be walking on eggshells for a while...)but as long as both sides are willing to try and communicate, there is hope. My uncle is a catholic priest but if I were to turn and be interested in Budhism, he would have the right to not agree with me but he would have to respect my choices. It is all about tolerance about what you don't know. And don't judge on something you are not familiar with. That is my rule. Thanks for your coverage and to John Roberts who is filing in for you. Good job!
Jos�
Posted By Anonymous Josee (Montreal, Canada) : 5:07 PM ET
hello everybody. i am really glad to hear these from you guys.i am a Turkish and i hope my people showed to the non-muslim world how are the real muslims and real Islam.
Islam means Peace and Respect
Salaam Alaykum......
Posted By Anonymous Sinan O . Miami, fl : 5:07 PM ET
Anderson,

I think that the Pope's visit is an important symbolic gesture that is long overdue. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share many religious similarities (i.e. Yahweh, GOD, and ALLAH are all the same deity with different cultural names).I do not think that the Pope's comments in Germany were untrue, but he should have used that discussion to talk about the real problem that Islam is facing. Islam is in its religious stage of radical thinking and abuse by some of its leaders. This is not new, nor does it apply solely to Islam. (Think crusades and their "get into heaven free card" that was issued to all crusaders.) I think the bonds of Christianity and Islam could be strengthened by the recognition of Christians past mistakes, and the notification of Islam's current repeat of these offenses. Hopefully this could also help to "mend fences" between Islam and Judaism.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Chicago Illinois : 5:12 PM ET
Admittedly, I was shocked to hear the man utter a somewhat diplomatic word, but I think it's a good thing. You're right, Anderson, the extremists are the ones who get the most attention-although it's accomplished in horrible ways. I am not particularly religious, but I do hope that all religions can one day promote tolerance. I admire anyone who can maintain a strong faith-but I've always thought that faith and religion are not alway synonymous.
I have enjoyed your coverage from Turkey-I had no idea it was such a gorgeous country. My friend is a writer for the Wall Street Journal and he just returned from Turkey-he says it's amazing. Thanks for your insight.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 5:18 PM ET
Hey Anderson - I think there is a much greater chance of seeing an improvement in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches than between Christians and Muslims. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches were a single church until the 11th century when they split along doctrinal, theological, linquistic, and geographic lines.

The fact that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I was present at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the first time for many centuries that an Ecumenical Patriarch attended the funeral of a Pope, some consider to be a sign that a dialogue toward reconciliaton had started. Pope Benedict XVI has stated that reuniting the church is a commitment of his papacy. I don't think uniting Christians and Muslims is as high a priority for him, and I think it is a much more difficult endeavor.

Did I miss the segment on the Blessed Virgin in Turkey or was it postponed to another night? It sounded interesting.

I hope your cold is better and make sure you bundle up, I hear nights are cold over there. Soft and cuddly North Face fleece sounds good to me!

Be safe and well and come home soon.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 5:21 PM ET
Everyone keeps saying that the majority of muslims are peaceful and we only focus on the radicals. Well, if I remember correctly weren't these the same people who were dancing in the streets on September 11th and the same people who violently attacked people and buildings over a cartoon? People are so afraid of being called a racist that we are blinding ourselves to the truth. I believe the whole Middle East would throw a party if we are attacked again.
Posted By Anonymous Janet Campbell Charleston West Virginia : 5:32 PM ET
Hey Anderson~
I believe that Pope Benedict XVI is doing a superb job of mending fences. I was also plesantly surprised that he would enter a mosque. I apreciate his efforts to unite and improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and Christians and Muslins, and it appears that he has done just that. At least I hope and pray so. Did I miss the story about Pope Benedict visitng the home of Virgin Mary and how we have that in common with the Muslims? I don't know if you could not show it because of the breaking news or if I had an interruption and missed it. Anyway, if you didn't air it could you please do so tonight? I am also looking forward to hearing more about the Iraq Study Group and I always love to hear Jimmy Carter's viewpoints. Thanks Anderson for all your hard work this week. As usual you've done a great job. It has been a fantastic eye opener! Please take care~ I'll see ya tonight in my living room!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 5:32 PM ET
I live in Brooklyn NY - definitely a microcosm of the world. There's a mosque on my block, and there are chapels and churches on the block - ONE BLOCK! There are people from all walks of life, all colors and faiths, and that is the one thing that makes it such a beautiful, rich and vibrant place to call home!

Everybody keeps it real and gets along; Kids play with their neighbors kids - with absolutely no thoughts of ill-will or suspicion that these "leaders" seem to feel towards each other. We're all making a living and doing our own thing...and when we see our neighbors on the sidewalk, it's such a good feeling to know that these people have your back and you have theirs.

I think that MOST of the people in the world, like us in Brooklyn, are more grown-up than to hold these childish, useless feelings of segregation and isolation towards each other.

Man didn't just walk on Mars, a cure for AIDS hasn't been found yet - some church head simply went to another country where they *gasp* practice another religion, and acted in a respectful, mature, decent manner...that SHOULD NOT BE NEWS!

But sadly it IS news, and that just makes me that much more proud to live in the finest borough in the greatest city in the world!
Posted By Anonymous JT, BK, NY : 5:33 PM ET
Hi Anderson, since Tuesday, the pope has offered messages of reconciliation to the Muslims, and I think this is a great start in helping to improve the relationship between the Christians and Muslims. It will not happen overnight and it's still a long journey ahead of us, but as they say, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Regarding his effort to unite the Catholic and Orthodox church, I was reading one of the blogs and I must say I was impressed when he called the divisions among Christians a "scandal to the world." This tells me that he is very much committed to bringing peace and unity among all Christians.

Regarding the "other side of the Muslim world," I've always known that not all Muslims are extremists, but you're right, it's easy to get caught up in believing otherwise if all we see in the news is the extremism. So thanks for showing us "the other side."

Thanks, Anderson, for all your reporting, and take care.
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 5:33 PM ET
Anderson,
I feel this visit went very well. Many expected a slew of protestors and upheaval in the country, but quite the opposite effect happened. I am so pleased with how well the Pope and Leaders of Istanbul worked together to insure a safe and historical visit. Also it shined such a positive light on the Muslim world. For so long (it is sad to say) Americans have had such a negative connotation when it comes to ALL Muslims. Maybe this helped break down a few stereotypes and helped bridge the gap between "us and them." Thank you all your hard work.
Posted By Anonymous Amber Murfreesboro, TN : 5:38 PM ET
I'm glad the Pope tried to extend a peace offering by supporting the Turkish admittance into the EU. This weeks coverage did a great job of exposing viewers to the Turkish culture & people.Unfortuately, the extremist groups will be extremist no matter what the Pope says or does. It seems like once an extremist group has been offended, that group just never lets it go. Great job this week and have a safe trip home.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl M, Johnston, Rhode Island : 5:42 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

Glad to hear a media man, who has rightfully earned the wests respect, say something positive about Islam. I am an American Christian who grew up in Jordan, a country 95% moslem. I am very disheartened by the usual negative coverage of the Middle East, especially by America's media. It is about time someone tells the world that most of Islam has nothing to do with the terrorists' interpretations of it.

Thank you
Posted By Anonymous Dina, (Sterling, Virginia) : 5:43 PM ET
Anderson, I can't say I expected anything new to come out of the Bush/al-Maliki meeting. We get a lot of show, but never any results. A little less talk and a little more action, you know? Iraq is such a mess that I'm beginning to think it would be easier to figure out a way to build a time machine, go back to March 2003, and just not invade. Unfortunately reality doesn't work that way. I'm looking forward to the Jimmy Carter interview.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 5:45 PM ET
I hate to say this, but no matter how much talking and diplomacy is attempted the Catholic Church will always feel that it is superior to other religions.The main thing however is that the Pope did sit down with the Patriarch and talk. How much good it did we may never know.

Thank you for showing a different side of the muslim religion than what is usually presented. Here in MI we have probably the largest Arab-American population in the US. and they are just like everyone else. Havng talked to some people over at CAIR(Council on American Islamic Relations)I have found that the muslims want everyone to know that they are just regular people like everyone else and they are not like the extreme muslims who want to do harm to everyone. Once we start realizing that the insurgents are just a small part of the muslim world maybe things will change and these extremists will realize that they are no longer getting through to people and just go away. Its all the misinformation that makes people trust the people who practice Islam as Mohammed taught it that turns people against them case in point at a meeting this past spring concerning the mosque coming to my city people at the meeting were asking if the group planned to practice ritual sacrifice and fear of a terrorist cell emerging was also brought up. Things appear to be better now and the mosque will be opening soon, but without the broadcasting of the Call to Prayer I'm afraid. But heck a compromise was reached and all sides are happy.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Warren Mi : 5:45 PM ET
Hello Anderson and team:

The West will never have respect for the "Real" Muslims until they step up and take action against the extremists.
"Live Free or Die" is more than just a slogan to Americans.
"Peace on Earth and good will towards
Men" only works when it is reciprocal.
Happy Holidays!
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Brooklyn New York : 5:49 PM ET
Hi Anderson...as long as there is respectful dialog coming from both sides, there is a chance for peace between Islam and Christianity.

I was very happy to see Pope Benedict present a more tolerant message.

All too often, the leaders of both sides step up their antagonistic rhetoric which fans the flames of intolerance.

But I do believe the vast majority on both sides of this equation want to live in peace so there is security for their families.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 5:50 PM ET
The Holy Father acted like a diplomatic world leader. I expected a lot of Vatican pomp and circumstance. What I saw were shades of Pope John Paul II's grace and tenacity in fighting for what he believed to be right. I saw Pope Benedict honestly extending his hand in reconciliation, not just for Rome, but for Christianity. I was impressed by what he did. I was impressed that he was welcomed as warmly as he was and that it appears strides have been made to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians (baby steps but there all the same). I only hope that his dream (and that of Pope John Paul II)to heal divisions in Catholicism becomes reality at some point soon. I see an openess to unity that did not always exist. It is the Christian season of anticipation and hope after all.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 5:51 PM ET
There are 1 Billion Muslims on this
planet.Jihadists probably don't make up more than 10% of the world's Muslim
population. The other 900 million moderate Muslims will be cool as long as the West prevails in this Global
Conflict.Less than 10% of the Nazis,
Communists & Imperial Nipponese were
extremists. And less than 10% of the
British Colonists helped out in the American Revolution. Forget the stats
and the PC denial. 100 million Muslims
want to kill you. Have a nice day.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Colton in Arlington, Washington : 5:51 PM ET
It's amazing you mention that there is another side to muslim world yet, you heavily lack to comment on the fact what that side is. Their are 1 billion muslim around the world. I assure you if you open your eyes wider and see how the rest of us live and believe you would stop associating Islam (which means piece) with terrorism.
Posted By Anonymous Sadik Mullah, Boston MA : 5:52 PM ET
Anderson: I suppose I shouldn't expect Pope Benedict XVI to be like Pope John Paul II but I do give him credit for going to Turkey; supporting Turkey's bid to join the EU; saying that Turkey is a bridge between religions and cultures and finally his visit to the mosque. Because of all of the threats he received, he had no choice but to ride around in an armored car with beefed up security. So, eventhough he did not attract the big crowds nor had the opportunity to meet with more people, he scored big points with me and I think this trip was a good starting point for him moving forward. I always appreciate learning about the places you visit and the reports from you and the others at CNN. Keep it up! So, where are you going to next?
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 5:55 PM ET
Hi Anderson, It seems that the message of Pope Benedict on his visit to Turkey is one of Unity and he seems to be comfortable in the presence of the Muslim world, at least for now. I was raised in a rigid Catholic Church and we were not able to even associate with others not of the Catholic faith. This was taught in my school by the nuns and priests. I have gained lots of wisdom in my 70 years and I believe we are all one and believe and serve the same God. Your Religious affiliatiions should not matter and the Pope should be one person who understand this.
Take care and travel safely.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 5:57 PM ET
Hey Anderson,

I don't think the Pope's visit will do much, but it was a nice gesture. I did enjoy your reports from Turkey; they were informative and interesting. I think it's good for Americans to see Muslims portrayed as something other than terrorists for once.

Looking forward to your chat with former President Carter! Wonder what he'll have to say about the Iraq Study Group's results...

See ya later!
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, St. Charles, MO : 6:01 PM ET
First, extremists dominate news coverage and that's the media's fault, no one else's. Second, Turkey is a secular country dominated by Muslims. That's far different than an Islamic country ruled by Islamic law, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, and parts of Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Third, it isn't all about extremism....it's about reciprocity, like the pope said. If the pope were allowed a visit to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan and challenge the Muslims there to allow co-existing churches, synagogues, and temples on their soil the same way the Christian West allows mosques, then that would prove more that Islam is all about "peace, equality, respect, and tolerance". Until then, it's all hot air.
Posted By Anonymous Jaysee, Seattle, WA : 6:11 PM ET
Hi AC! I have to say I think the Pope's visit went better then Mr. Bush's visit. The Pope was able to mend some fences and open some windows . I feel hopeful that he will again meet with Muslims to continue these talks. I thought Istanbul was beautiful. You and your crew did a great job showing a different lifestyle than what we've seen in other Muslim countries. As far as Iraq goes, it still just seems like a huge mess. Maybe Mr. Bush should meet with the Pope for some ideas! Just kidding. Have a safe trip back and thanks for all of your great work.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 6:15 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
It is nice to see that the media is focusing on the positive side of Islam. I hope that the media continues to show the majority view of not only Islam but also the different cultures and religions around the world and we will realize that there is no inevitable clash of civilizations as predicted by the so-called experts of world politics. The majority of the people in the world are peaceful but they don't make news.
Posted By Anonymous Atif Munawar Mir, Mississauga, Ontario : 6:21 PM ET
Everytime I hear about what is and is not going on in Iraq the lyrics to U2's "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of" start running through my head. I may not support past decisions of this administration but I do not envy Bush the decisions he faces now.
Posted By Anonymous Claire Colvin, White Rock, BC : 6:27 PM ET
I am glad that there wasn't a big conflict in Turkey with the Muslim community over the Pope coming to visit. I think that maybe the bridge might of been somewhat mended between Christians and Muslims. However, it will most likely be temporary because wars arise over religious differences... But, right now I am mostly concerned about the severe problems in Iraq and when the US will get out or somehow find a resolution. Thank you guys @ 360 and Anderson for giving us such good coverage of what is happening in the world & God Bless,
JOANNA
Posted By Anonymous Joanna Parker , Millsboro, DE : 6:35 PM ET
Hello Anderson, Thanks for engaging us and giving us the oppotunity to express our thoughts. Your nesws reproting are always good and informative. What I would have wanted to hear more about is the real purpose of the visit to Turkey. What progress are the two chrurches making in getting closer to each other and what would that mean to the rest of the world? It seems that some in Turkey think that it is a consirency! ALso I would have wanted to hear more about the issue of Armenian genocide. Turkey still denies it. However just a few days before the Pope's visit to Turkey there wee strong tension between France and Turkey as France declared the genocide a crime that had occured and Turkey in response said that they will freeze all military maneuvers with France. This is an issue as France first becaus Fracne is important for TUrkey to join the EU. Second, in a few months, France will transfer the military leadership of the international forces in certain areas in Afghanistan to Turkey. The Armenian issue is still alive. Thanks again for what you do.
Posted By Anonymous J, Michael, Marion, Indiana : 6:42 PM ET
Hello Anderson,

I am not Catholic, but I can certainly respect the Pope and what he has done in Turkey. At least he did not back down when there was opposition to his trip. He handled himself well and I hope that some good comes from it.

Thanks for the incredible amount of information in regard to Turkey and Islam. I learned much, and this is why I continue to watch - you do an amazing job, Anderson. I appreciate the fact that you give us such great background on the places that you travel to. It is almost like being there!

Safe journey Anderson! Good to hear from you! See ya tonight!
Posted By Anonymous Patricia McMillan, Camp Hill, PA : 6:47 PM ET
Thank you Anderson, for your insightful coverage of Pope's visit to Turkey. This is something we missed to see and need so much. As a Turkish Muslim (living in US right now), I am glad we have made some improvement in terms of understanding and tolerance. I invite everyone to visit my country and see a surprisingly different face of 'the other' and we'll see that 'the other' is not so different, and the difference is in fact, something nice..
Posted By Anonymous Nil, Seattle, WA : 6:49 PM ET
Hey Anderson,
I think it's a bit unfair to portray Turkey as a "Muslim" country. It's true that 99% of the population is Muslim but since the early part of the 20th century, when Ataturk came to power, Turkey has essentially been a secular republic. Reza Shah of Iran and Ataturk of Turkey were contemporaries. They both had a pro west and deeply nationalistic vision for their countries. Ataturk went as far as changing the written form of Turkish to latin, claiming that if they're going to use a foreign written form, it might a well be latin ( previous to that Turks used the arabic alphabet like Persians do).
Posted By Anonymous Gissou, Canada : 6:52 PM ET
How has this improved Christian-Muslim relations?
I think it's important to show up in person; there will always exist a distrust between religions, but the more its leaders get out there and spend time with the congregation, the better.
Can you report on visits of Muslim leaders to largely Christian areas?
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 7:12 PM ET
Anderson:
I love your reporting and think you do a great job, but I've got a question: exactly how many worlds do we have and just which one of them is Muslim? It may only be a common term, but it's still pretty divisive.
Posted By Anonymous Lesley, Oakland, CA : 7:20 PM ET
The best education anyone can have is to catch a flight to Istanbul. Take a cab to the Topkapi Palace Museum. Walk into the Sultan's treasure museum. Go in alone. Casually walk to each encasement of jewels and gold artifacts. Read the description on the fourth display to the left of entering the room. If you are a Christian, brace yourself. If you are a compassionate American and know the stories of the Bible, brace yourself. If you ever wondered why we can't all just get along. Brace yourself.

For in the contents of this modern day casing shown in no religious context but next to every most valued artifact in the country including the largest diamond ever seen, there for all to see is "The head of John the Baptist upon the beheading request of the Sultan" laying on a golden platter.

I am an educated American with an open mind and open heart who wanted to be a missionary when I was in Sunday School.

But at that moment, in that room. Alone. Standing there. Facing this encasing, looking in the golden cage, seeing (note this was a replica) the pride which this was shown in the same light as the jewels of a King in this modern age I knew rage. I knew hate as I had never known or felt before. I wanted to scream and yell at every Muslim I saw. John the Baptist was the man that baptised my savior. MY Savior! How could this be? How could they have this here so overt? So proud? Why was there no warning or sensitivity sign for Christians? This was the HEAD OF JOHN THE BAPTIST and included HIS ARM - a detailed rotted skin sinew replica - in a golden case!!! I knew rage - deep rage.

But I couldnt leave. I had to stay. This wasnt a vacation for me. It was a family reunion with a half sister who couldnt speak English. She had never heard of Jesus. She didnt know what a Baptist was. She thought I was Catholic. And she just wanted to go get a hamburger and a beer before going to the championship football game at the stadium.

I was paralyzed. I wanted to be airlifted out of Istanbul. So I imagined Jesus. His hanging there on the Cross. No clothes, all sinewy, bloody. And at that moment, I wondered if that was how it felt to be a Jewish person walking into St. Peters Cathedral.

I was born Muslim in Germany, put in a Catholic Orphanage, adopted by Southern Baptists moved to Texas, attended Lutheren Kindergarten. I believe in Jesus. I believe in Stephen Hawking. I believe everyone needs to go to the Topkapi museum and then go have a hamburger and a beer at a football game with a group of modern day Muslim girls and guys. We're all the same, we were taught different stories. Unfortunately, this story will take another few decades to finish. I wonder what the description by the glass case will say about the artifacts that remain.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah D. Morgan, Dallas, Texas : 7:31 PM ET
I am with you Janet(WV). We are all bending over backwards to prove that we don't think all Muslims are violent terrorists. How about the Muslim community bending over backwards to show us that they don't support terrorist actions. The Pope's comments brought about violent protests and reprisals, but beheadings and kidnappings did not. I think that we as Americans need to stop trying to be the voice of reason and peace for Muslims, let them be their own conscious. Oh, I forgot, they WON'T.
Posted By Anonymous Cecilia, Houston : 7:33 PM ET
President Bush needs to define his great mission that he wants to accomplish.

If it is to create a democratic government and security force then I say job finish because they have had elections and a security force of over 300,000.

Now it is up to the Iraqi people to prove through their own blood, sweat and tears if they are going to accept it or reject it.

If the Iraqi people are going to reject Democracy, then we need to clear out of there.
Posted By Anonymous B Hall, Carlsbad CA : 7:34 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I was glad to see the Pope's visit went smoothly. I was also interested to see his support of Turkey joining the EU. I think that went a longer way than we know in calming people down.
I must say, I am not surprised to see the recommendation coming out of the Iraq committee supporting a phased withdrawl from Iraq. I will be curious to see if the President supports it now that it has bipartisan support and the backing of many advisors of his father.
Thanks for the comprehensive coverage-have a safe trip back!
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, NY : 7:43 PM ET
Hi AC,

Good to hear from you.

I have a friend in Turkey and she stayed with me during her holiday in Malaysia. I was curious and I wanted to understand how Muslims and Christians live together in Turkey. She's Muslim and she's very open minded. She explained how Turkey is a secular system but religion is separated from state affairs so that people can practice their faiths with ease. She personally felt it was better this way. Faith is a personal matter and should not mix with politics or for that matter be used as a tool in politics.

She told me that the Blue Mosque is a beautiful place to visit and it embodies both Christianity and Muslim artifacts. I thought that was really cool; a symbol of unity and harmony of two major religions in teh world. But I guess, there are some people who feel otherwise as we see the conflicts going on today.

Anyway, I saw Turkey through her eyes and I have a very different impression of her country before CNN's coverage of the Pope's visit there now. It is exactly what you've said - the glimpses of the other side of the Muslim or Islamic world that we don't often see.

I'm a Buddhist and I live in a country where the official religion is Islam but the people living in this country practice different faiths. But amongst this potpourri of faiths, we have a common understanding, tolerance and respect for each other because we keep an open mind to learn about the differences and commonalities. There are reasons behind customs or traditions that are being practised within different religions. It is important that people learn and try to understand the differences and similarities in religions.

I feel there will be more respect derived from knowledge and understanding. Peace through friendship, friendship through trust is a motto from an international lay Buddhist organisation in the United Kingdom. I can't help but feel that is so apt for us to practice in a world of conflict. If there is no trust then there will be no peace.

On something else, I feel a lot of times the media covers a "happening" story that give viewers the impression that the whole nation is in chaos or something because of that one story. Likewise for the terrorist stories that have been covered frequently.

I remember a friend from abroad saw a foreign media's coverage about the Australian embassy in Malaysia that was experiencing a bomb scare. That friend contacted me immediately to ask if my family and I are safe; whether the country is in chaos etc. I apeaced her saying that we're all fine and it was a false alarm and the nation is not thrown into chaos.

There are many other stories that don't get coverage perhaps these stories are just not exciting or happening enough to warrant attention by the media - too mundane? May be there should be some kind of balance while keeping things honest?
Posted By Anonymous Mei Ling, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia : 7:56 PM ET
Bush's focus on training Iraqi troops simply ignores the fact that both the police and military are heavily infiltrated with militia. All we're doing is training and equiping people who will be our future, active, enemies. This is stupid.

How is that the President does not see the unwillingness and inability of al-Maliki to disarm Shia militia? He is not in control! How can all this be so obvious to ordinary citizens but oblivious to Bush? It's amazing and disastrous.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry R. Boggs, Spirit Lake, ID : 8:13 PM ET
Anderson, I was surprised to see how little the Muslim community cared whether the Pope was there or not. The spontaneous mass protests when the Pope �pulled a Bush� (foot-in-mouth) really shocked me. The Islamic religion is peaceful and apparently forgiving. Since Turkey is 90+ Muslim, why would they attend a Catholic visit? While the Pope is the head of the Catholic church, for those of us who are not Catholic, he is simply a religious man. He made a good start at mending what his harsh words seemed to convey, but I�m not sure he changed many minds. I think that Pope John Paul II was so well received by so many because of his character and qualities, not because of his position.

I enjoyed learning more about modern Turkey. I would like to see more about the country, especially when the cancellation and postponement of major events freed up news coverage. It would have been nice to hear interviews with typical citizens of Turkey�maybe tonight. It was embarrassing to have the letter released to the press just before the visit, but I�m used to it after the last 6 years.

I would like to hear more coverage about the difference between the extremists groups. There are extremists in all nations. I think the truly established democratic nations have a judicial system in place that deters most extremists from running amuck. We in the U.S. have our own, the White Aryan Nation, urban gangs, etc. I don�t remember, what changed to make the IRA leaders proclaim an end to violence? Maybe we can learn something from that.

I wasn�t expecting anything to improve with the Bush/al-Maliki meeting... ineffective vs. ineffective. It was all for show anyway, they could have conference-called the meeting and saved a lot of time and OUR money.

I look forward to your interview with President Carter tonight. Now THAT is a moral person who has continued to be a peace-loving leader.
Posted By Anonymous Pixie, Muncie IN : 8:32 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

It is interesting that these two events happened at the same time. I believe the Pope certainly accomplished more than George W. Bush.

I think many of us were very surprised and pleased that the protests against the Pope's visit were kept to a minimum. Hopefully, this is a direct reflection of the way a majority of the Muslim people feel in general about the situation.

Although Pope Benedict repeated his hopes of more religious freedom for the minority Christian population in Muslim countries, he took a major step forward in reconciling relations with the Muslim world by softening his stand on Turkey's admission to the EU and encouraging a "healthy dialogue with Muslims." I was relieved to hear that PM Erdogan consented to meet with the Pope to discuss these issues. I only hope the dialogue will continue and produce some positive results.

Unlike Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey, George W. Bush's meeting with Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki produced nothing new or promising. It was all about the transfer of leadership, or shall I say, the accelerated transfer of leadership, and the absence of timetables for withdrawal. They said what everyone expected them to say; al-Maliki was chosen by the people, he is the best man for the job, all things we have heard before. Although questions were asked, they never sufficiently addressed the problem of Moqtada al-Sadr. In addition, many of Bush's comments seemed to be made in anticipation of the Iraq Study Group's soon to be released report.

As I watched the press conference, I couldn't help but feel that these two men did not have much real respect for one another. They seemed forced together by the consequences of the war. At this point they have no other choice but to support each other. I don't have much confidence that any progress will result from this particular meeting.

I look forward to your program tonight: take care of that cold!

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 9:20 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I'm probably too late to get a comment to go through, but I'll try. You asked what we thought of the Popes visit to Turkey? Well, despite the death threats, protest and the attitude by many that it was no big Wow of an event, I'd say he did an excellent job. He can only speak to those than really want to hear. I appreciate his efforts. At the end of the day, he can only state his opinions and offer his hand of hope. Perhaps, even though it's not popular, the religious leaders will be the ones that become the light at the end of the tunnel for the turmoil in the world. Maybe they can shame us all into remembering that "WE" are the solution as well as the problem. I hope it will be soon. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 9:58 PM ET
The Pope's visit to a mosque was a very important gesture, especially his praying there. I'm a Lebanese-American Maronite and as I'm sure that Anderson and everyone at CNN already knows, Lebanon has problems both between Christians and Muslims and within the different groups of each of those major religions. It is important to create common ground between Islam and Christianity; it is the essence of survival of a country like Lebanon, and it certainly could help the rest of the world a little. Anyway, I don't want to get into the politics of Lebanon, but I do want to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to CNN and to Anderson Cooper for the great coverage of Lebanon this summer. I had the great misfortune of being in Lebanon all summer (ironically, it was supposed to be the best trip yet) but it was comforting to watch you project the truth to the rest of the world, since we were stuck inside... and scared... and hoping that people in the US had a clue what we were going through. My family really appreciated it... THANK YOU!
Posted By Anonymous Marie Rose, Chevy Chase, MD : 11:59 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Thank you for your blog and wish you and your team a safe return home.
I think the Pope's visit by and large had an optimistic light to it, and did in fact greatly make up for his tone of voice this past September. He stated he was in favor of including Turkey as part of the EU and also was gracious to visit the Blue Mosque as a part of his itinerary. I am not too familiar with the division among the churches, but I'm sure the attitude of the Pope will bring the different kinds of churches closer together.
It just puzzles me as to how these tiny differences within any given religion, totally miss the larger picture that seems to be universally staring at us. I am sure if this aspect was recognized -the trinity of love, peace and compassion- then its impossible to have anything but harmony on this fragile planet that we live on.
Overall the Pope's visit reflected on bringing the Christians and Muslims closer together, focusing on dissolving their differences. I wish there would be more harmony between the 2 religions.

Thanks once again Anderson and I'm glad you had a wonderful, though hectic trip. Congratulations to the AC360 team coverage. Superb as usual!
Posted By Anonymous Rekha, Fremont, CA : 12:27 AM ET
Hello Anderson

You should read "SNOW" by Orhan Pamuk, which is very appropriate to this occasion.

As a Catholic, I think that it has been good. Respecting differences at peace is a living evidence of reason.

Besides, both of Christians and Muslims assert that their religions are based on reason. Then it will work well in the future.

See you on CNN International.
Guihyun Nahm from South Korea
Posted By Anonymous Guihyun Nahm from South Korea : 1:05 AM ET
A good fourth of my friends are Muslim, as is the entire family of one of my best friends. They know I'm a Pagan. They've also never preached to me, hit me, or insulted me. They've treated me with respect. I can't say the same for the Christian high school students that threw me down the stairs, my Catholic family that attempts to convert me everytime I call them, or the Christians on this website showing how loving they are.

As far as I'm concerned, Christianity is a greater threat to world peace than Islam is. It's a blessing that Christianity is slowly dissapearing from civilized countries. All this hoopla over Muslims is just a great cover for Christians to hide their own intolerance and cruelty.

Muslims don't have to prove a thing to Christians OR Americans.Their purpose in life is not to show America how wonderful they are. Their lives are theirs to live. This country needs to get off it's self-infalted view that the entire world must bow down and do whatever we want the moment we want it. If the Middle East hates America, it's for the pompous "we know better than you do" stance that has become sadly mainstream since the Bush administration came into power.

If this pope was anything like Pope John Paul II, maybe THEN I would think their is some hope for Christianity. Fat chance that will ever happen.
Posted By Anonymous Bekah, Coral Gables, Fl : 2:11 AM ET
Anderson
I don't think that the popes trip had improved much relations with the orthodox church, but it did something more then planned. It made the journalist take there camera's to a country that defines most of the Muslim world. If the pope wasn't coming, I don't think that anyone would have even got to see another side of Muslims then there extremist persona. I know I certainly did. Though some people might think that it wasn't a successful trip like the one that pope John Paul the II had, I'm glad an event like this happened because it let us see another story that was just as important to show. Nice job on reporting by the way.
Posted By Anonymous Mawa, seattle WA : 3:39 AM ET
Bekah from FL made a very good point. The Americans should realize that they are more hated than loved by the people in the rest of the world.
Someone commented earlier that the Muslims danced at the news of 9/11. Unfortunately, non-Muslims in some other countries also celebrated at the news.

The major reason of the hatred is the superiority Americans have. Americans think they know the best of everything, they have the right to tell other countries what and how to do their matters.

If you have a neighbor acting like this country, would you like him? Even if he is very rich and has lots of guns?

No religion is especially violent. The history told us any religion can turn into violent when it is combined with political power and money.
Posted By Anonymous Ling Zhou, Albany, NY : 9:54 AM ET
Anderson, job well done, as always. When are you going to do a report from Darfur, you have such a impact on the nation, you can bring it into our homes and just maybe we can make a difference on our watch. Please, I know its dangerous but that hasn't stopped you from doing whats right. Please you may be the one to make a difference.
Posted By Anonymous Dawn, Long Beach, CA : 9:57 AM ET
i'm glad SOMEONE's seeing the positive side of the muslim world...not that i can blame those who can't.
Posted By Anonymous naurah,lahore,pakistan : 10:34 AM ET
I honestly don't think that much will change. His trip was "saving face at best."
Posted By Anonymous Liz Walters, Howell, NJ. : 10:53 AM ET
It's amusing to see how many readers assume that Pope Benedict needs to "mend fences" with Islam. From Indonesia to Iraq, from Sudan to Pakistan, it is Islam which persecutes Christians, and not the other way around.
Posted By Anonymous Danny, Ottawa Canada : 11:42 AM ET
Anderson:
I appreciated the commentary of Resa Oslan during AC360 coverage of the papal trip to Turkey. I believe he was able "counteract" the misconceptions and views of the West and clearly express the Mulsim culture and the voice of Turkey.

In addition, I appreciated the coverage of the comparison between Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict XVI.

Look forward to the honest dialogue between you and former President Jimmy Carter tonight. With no personal political agenda, he is quite blunt about the Iraq War and Bush policies. Putting his book on my list of must-read.

Thanks again for covering the Katrina survivors. Only 11 FEMA checks dispersed even though there are 93,000 displaced citizens in the Gulf. It is mind numbing. Thank you President Carter for going to the coast!

Take care.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis : 11:48 AM ET
To Bekah and Ling Zhou,

I totally disagree with both of you. I think you are looking at this issue with a great deal of pessimism and extreme bias. Forceful conversion exists in almost any religion and as it does in the religion of Islam also. And let's face the fact that America is the richest and most powerful nation in the world, yet America is also to a great extent the largest contributor to humanitarian causes around the world, and opens her educational institutions unconditionally to all the nationalities of the world. Despite this we had a band of Islam radicals who had the audacity to take flying lessons in this country, to shamelessly bring down the innocence of the Twin Towers, sheerly betraying the soul of this nation.

Are you trying to say that Islamic nations are religiously unbiased and are open ended about Christianity and other religions?? Unless we as a humanity take responsibility in individually sorting out these derisive differences entrapped within ourselves, the world of wars will continue as long as we don't reconcile and grow up as moral adults to consciously melt these differences as a whole.

Instead of pinpointing faults and misdeeds its time that the world which includes people like you and me, made room for compromise, and to get along with others as respectfully as possible. It is mutual respect that comes before love can even bloom.
Its time for broad-vision, instead of petulantly blaming certain issues that will not save us from wars, instead it will continue to fester hatred among homo-sapiens, which in fact -whether
we like it or not- is the cause for bloody wars.

Wiping out Israel off the face of this map is not going to void hatred, and neither is NOT allowing the building of churches in Saudi Arabia going to foster love.

Do you have anything to say about the genocidal behaviour of the Arab militias in Africa or is it absolutely justifiable in both of you to see the merciless massacreing of the Black Africans(Christians)go without punishment?

Only a radical and conscious love can change this world, and I would love to repeat myself even if it gets boring, this can only be brought about by unconditional mutual respect for one another.
Posted By Anonymous Rekha, Fremont, CA : 11:57 AM ET
Hey Anderson,

The Pope's trip was more peaceful than I thought. For me, actions speak louder than words. Like seeing him in the Mosque. For what he has said, well,future will tell. I was baptised Catholic, for now, no religion, even mine,appeal to me. I'm on a more spiritual path for the time being.I hope that religions will be able to mend fences so we can live in a more peaceful world, the sooner the better.

As for seeing a more favorable view of Islam, it's about time. I have Muslims friends, they have taught me so much about their faith. Extremists are the minority(a loud & dangerous one) but generalisation is never a good,productive thing.

As for Bush & al-Maliki, another "diplomatic dance" and not a good one. Sometimes, diplomacy=hypocrisy in a tuxedo. That's what we saw.

Anderson & crew, have a safe trip back.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 12:53 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
I have followed many of your reports over the years and looked forward to your portrayal of Turkey, yet the portrayal given was filled with negative frames, negative in the sense that they have little to do with the truth of daily life in Turkey.
The title first of all had a negative conotation to it and made me sad as a British-Turkish citizen. "When religions collide" is the title chosen to represent the popes mission of good will, and Turkey's hospitality and religious tolerance.
I think that although the Pope did quite an important thing by emphasizing that Turkey was a bridge for religions and dialogue, Anderson Cooper did not portray the mission in the lovely light it was steeped in.
Phrases were used such as; "Turkey is a deeply religious country." Anyone who visists Turkey at least one time and spends time in the majority of its cities including, Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Ankara, or one of the many coastal areas of the Agean and Meditteranean will see that Turkey is quite a liberal and open minded Secular society with a state that is seperated from religion in order to promote and enforce the rights that are necessary to guarauntee religious freedom.
I am aware that you did mention secularism and explain the way Turkey is a contrasting place of all walks of life. From modern to traditional, there are many different levels of devotion and of peoples living average lives much like Americans, Europeans or Canadians, and it is obvious once one takes a walk in any City in Turkey that having a beer, watching the soccer game and going to a nightclub are realities of every day life in Turkey. Lectures, intellectual political debates and progressive centers for womens rights, human rights and the advancement of knowledge and stability are available for all to see.
Yet the program focused on using specific terms that highlight the growing views of Americans are extremely affected by the opinions dissimenated on their Television sets.
As a young Turkish male studying history, politics and religion, I can see dangers of reporting what seems to be an unbiased and open minded report, but is filled with large FLASHING RED SCARE TACTICS...
I ask why is this? Why is there an attempt to paint a people as apart of a unified movement of hate when Turkey is clearly a beacon of light in an otherwise dark and scary world.
Turkey is not perfect, and you are right to show some of the bad issues in Turkey for it will give us Turks motivation in fixing them and creating a better Turkey, however by downgrading and pushing Turkey's achievements to the back of the story and having BOLD BRIGHT RED LETTERED; "WHEN FAITHS COLLIDE" is not necessarily portraying the tolerant and open reality that is a young Turkey extending it's hand to Europe, America, the Catholic Church, Israel, the Arab World, Africa, Central Asia, and with equal sincerity to each of these regions and peoples.
One just has to look into the number of initiatives that Turkey has taken recently to understand that Turkey serves as an example to extremes that a balance between East-West, North-South, Muslim-Christian, Muslim-Jewish divide.
An example is the Turkish and Spanish Primeministers efforts to establish a project called the "Alliance of Civilisations" project.
There are many more, all one has to do is report on them and build momentum, in the place of building fear and hostility based on constructed half truths and misrepresentations of daily average realities.
Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely Deniz Oliver Celik
ITSS Board Member (www.itss.org)
Posted By Anonymous Deniz Oliver Celik, Montreal, Canada : 1:19 PM ET
For Janet Campbell Charleston West Virginia:

You are showing typical ignorance when describing the Muslim world. How can you be sure in which country people were dancing on Sep.11th? I can tell you for sure - it was not Turkey. I can also tell you i saw people dancing on streets of Athens, Greece, a non-muslim country.

You are also mentioning that "whole middle east would throw a party..etc". Do you know where is Turkey located? Half in Europe half in Asia. Turkey is not a middle-eastern country. Read books, visit other countries, talk to people who come from different backgrounds, educate yourself, and then post comments.
Posted By Anonymous AJ, Sarajevo, Bosnia : 7:05 PM ET
How is Turkey's all-secular all the time policy working out for them?
Posted By Anonymous Steve - Peoria IL : 7:48 PM ET
Hey AC, Im glad to hear the good side of Islam being shown on the media. It's about time! They never bring the good side to Muslims and Islam, after all Islam means peace with everyone and everything. People in the western world even some Muslims living in the western world misconcepts that and they start to believe what the media portrays that all Muslims are extremists and even kids think the word terrorists means a Muslim. Every religien has its good and its bad. The Christains have there good and there bad,Judists and Muslims also. So when you see muslims dancing in the street celibrating what happened on 9/11, thats because they have also been misinformed by the media. Because there were alot of Muslim FD's and PD's working on helping save people, but again the media fails to bring that. So people of all religiens, before you begin to judge please do some real research and stop jumping to conclusions. I also think the pope visiting Turkey was just him giving 50% to Muslims. Muslims still need to get the appoligy. Whats the big deal?
Thanks Andy!
Posted By Anonymous Danya, Oakland, Ca : 9:56 PM ET
If Pope Benedict XVI cares about religious freedoms, then he should say something about the continuing genocide and ethnic cleansing of West Papua by Indonesia. For decades the US Dept. of State has objected to the military's rape, killings and burning of Christian townships. Certainly part of the TNI and Laskar Jihad and FPI motives is racial and that they hate the indigenous Melanesian people for reminding Jakarta that Timor, Ambon, and Papua like the indigenous black population of the rest of the Australian continent are non-Asian.
But the primely license to slaughter these Melanesian people is because they are Christian; and the world says nothing in their defense.
Posted By Anonymous Andrew Johnson, Sydney Australia : 10:51 PM ET
To Danny, Ottawa Canada
You are right," From Indonesia to Iraq, from Sudan to Pakistan, it is Islam which persecutes Christians, and not the other way around."
Based on your comment, I assume that iraq is christian country where muslim country(USA) attacked, also afghanistan is a christian country and attacked by a muslim country. It is the muslim, killing people all over the world, you are so right.....
I am so impressed......
Posted By Anonymous asiya Tempe, AZ : 12:13 AM ET
A view from Istanbul:

I hope everyone saw that the pope met with the Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Assyrian, Jewish as well as Muslim leaders of religion in Turkey. They are all here albeit their small numbers.

Although his visit may be remembered for the prayer he did in the Blue Mosque, I think the most important part was his visit to Hagia Sophia. It was the largest enclosed area for a 1000 years, the most important church for the Orthodox religion, sacked by Catholic crusaders, converted into a mosque by the Ottomans, and now is a museum.

This immense building is the bridge between Christianity and Islam. Inside you will find depictions of Jesus side by side with verses of Islam. When it was converted to a mosque 500 yrs ago the tiles weren't struck off, they were covered with plaster to protect them. Its huge dome is standing because of numerous supports built by the Byzantines and the Ottomans.

And now Haghia Sophia is also a shrine to Turkey's secularism and religious freedom, because it is a museum for all to see.

On a side note, I was very displeased, almost angry, because they closed off half the roads in Istanbul for the Pope and it took me 3 hours to get home last night. But then I saw him say something to the effect that he was sorry for all the traffic problems he caused. That gesture just melted away all my resentment!

I hope he returns to the Vatican knowing he has left a very positive image in Turkey.
Posted By Anonymous Mehmet Kara, Istanbul - Turkey : 12:33 AM ET
Please forgive me, but my comment is not about what you've posted recently. I just wanted to thank you for your book. My older brother took his own life several months ago, and I've felt so lost since he died. You've so candidly expressed in your book all of the emotions that I feel. Although I've never met you, you've been someone who has really helped me. Thank you so much.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Austintown, Ohio : 12:50 AM ET
hi anderson was wondering why I've missed some history on Turkey about the Genicide of Millions of Armenians, Assarians and Pontic Greeks,Talking about this other side of the story that it is a crime to publish or to talk in pubic about this less than 100 year old injustice.
Posted By Anonymous will nazarian, Terrebonne ,Oregone : 2:03 AM ET
This new passion as a noble act from Pope Benedict XVI is probably an event to remember. If these two religions cooperate then it can be illustrated as the parent who consoles the disciplined child.
Posted By Anonymous israel, raleigh, nc : 2:56 AM ET
It's great of the Pope to really make these efforts to try and build a relationship with the people of Turkey (Both Non-Muslim and Muslim). Even speaking with some international students (mostly Muslim) from Turkey at my local university, they were very pleased with his visit and felt that it would not be "bad" as the media set out for it to be. They felt that it was a really important step to begin peaceful dialogue amongst the faiths, and also open it up to people of other faiths as well. Being Non-Muslim, I did not think of it as shocking when they told me that, seeing how some negative depictions (and stereotyping) of (any) people are definitely not true for the majority.

Watching the program earlier today, it appeared as though, his trip was turning out more positive (and I hope I am not naive)!! I think this will help in terms of the relations between the faiths. For a more in depth look, I recommend reading the English translations (or French, Italian, whatever you prefer!) of the Popes speeches, on the Vatican's website (www.vatican.va). His words are truly beautiful, whatever you may or may not believe in...

nice coverage & thoughts
Posted By Anonymous deepa, Buffalo,NY : 3:02 AM ET
We can quit fooling ourself, The pope
can talk all he wants! Do you notice how every muslim talks about Israel. Do
you want to know why? The mosk of Omar.
What is a mosk doing on the most holy
jewish spot in Israel? Do you think the
conflict is going away as long as that mosk sits on King Solomons Temple,No!
Sadam rebuilt Babalon and tried to drain the Garden of Eden. You know the
muslims beleive in our God more than we do. That's a shame, The Palistian people may be on the land but who does
it belong to is the question. Settle this and the muslims,jews and christians can start to work for peace.
Or lets take the mosk apart and take it back to Mecca and put it back together. I personally would like to help take it down.
Posted By Anonymous Lynwood Martin Pamplico S.C. : 10:42 PM ET
Hey People I really think that you guys should loosen up and get real with the muslims. They're not animals they're humans just like us! They do have feelings too! I hear alot of people calling arabs terrorists and that is so immature! who ever says that obviously is childish and has no brain! and or life!! So stop hating on the arabs and it will be all good!
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, Staten Island, NY : 9:54 PM ET
As an American living in Turkey for many years, I know a different Turkish people than the rest of the world, who are now seeing them demonstrate in the streets and teach their children intolerance and disrespect for others.
We live in a world now where many do not give peace or understanding a chance. I was truly delighted to see the warm response many here did give the Pope, but I also see what damage was done to Turkey and her people by the demonstrations in the street. I shed some light on Turkey and the Pope's visit at http://remarkablesolutions.typepad.com/foreign/2006/11/pope_benedict_t.html. I hope for open hearts and minds to see more than one aspect to the story.
Posted By Anonymous Bea Vanni, Istanbul, Turkey : 6:20 AM ET
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