COLOGNE, Germany, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Muslims in Cologne Saturday Islam and Christianity must work together to defeat terrorism.
In his first visit to his homeland as pope -- and his first meeting with Muslims -- Benedict said terrorism represented "the darkness of a new barbarism," the New York Times reported.
The newspaper said the pope told the Muslims -- most of them representing an organization of Turks in Germany -- improved relations between Islam and Christianity are not optional.
"It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which a large measure of our future depends," he said.
He said Muslim teachers have a "great responsibility" to educate their youth and seemed to suggest the education should discourage hatred and violence. The newspaper said the pope's comments also seemed to send a message on the rights of Christians to practice their faith in predominantly Muslim countries.
"Respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization," he said.