A delegation of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Druse religious leaders in Israel met Thursday with Pope Benedict XVI in a high-profile display of their efforts to promote interfaith peace initiatives in the region.

The Council of Religious Leaders in Israel was created in 2007 in Jerusalem to bring together Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders in Israel to raise awareness about the need for interfaith dialogue and cooperation in the Holy Land.

The audience with the pope was designed in part to boost the profile of the council, which counts among its members representatives of Israel’s Islamic, or Sharia courts.

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