Roman Catholics around the world and locally have expressed satisfaction on the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to succeed Pope Benedict XVI as the new Bishop of Rome. People of other faiths are optomistic that Pope Franics I will reach out to other religious leaders and establish interfaith dialogue. Dr. Ovamir Anjum is the Chair of Islamic Studies at the University of Toledo. "It seems he has a good rapport with the Muslims in Argentina and there are reasons to believe he will be more sensitive," Dr. Anjum said.
Dr. Anjum says many Muslims were offended by remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006 and that this marred the then pontiff's relationship with followers of Islam. "The last Pope had a bit of a bumpy relationship with Muslims," Dr. Anjum said. Pope John Paul II made significant progress in Catholic-Muslim relations and Dr. Anjum is hopeful that Pope Franics will build on those successes. "The Catholic Church has had a more stable narrowing of the gap than other Christian communities," Dr. Anjum said.