Pope Francis and Moroccan King Mohammed VI are calling for Jerusalem to be preserved as a symbol of peaceful coexistence and for Muslims, Jews and Christians to be allowed to worship there freely.
The two leaders issued a joint appeal on Saturday as Francis arrived in the Moroccan capital Rabat for an overnight visit, aimed at encouraging Christian-Muslim ties and showing solidarity with Morocco's ever-growing migrant community.
The appeal said it was important to preserve the Holy City "as the common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions, as a place of encounter and as a symbol of peaceful coexistence, where mutual respect and dialogue can be cultivated."
Pope Francis praised Morocco's efforts to promote an Islam that repudiates extremism as he opens a quick trip to the North African kingdom that has tried to distinguish itself as a beacon of religious tolerance and moderation in the Muslim world.
Tensions erupted in late February over Israel's closure of a building at a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
The walled compound, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock, is the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site of Judaism.
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