XVI is today meeting up with leaders of Muslim communities in Lebanon. The meeting, which was arranged months ago, comes at a time when U.S. and other western governments' diplomatic buildings are under attack across the Middle East and beyond.
The meeting is aimed at bridging the gap between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. Of all Middle eastern countries, Lebanon has a good history of people from different faiths living side by side. The Pope congratulated them on this on his arrival. Unbeknown to him anti-U.S. Islamist protestors were taking part in a violent riot in Lebanon at that very minute.
The violent protests were sparked by a U.S.-made film 'Innocence of Muslims' that insults and mocks Islam. The film has been condemned by Hilary Clinton and the Obama administration.
Before meeting the Muslim community leaders Pope Benedict will have meetings with President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Nagib Mikati. The president is a Christian and the prime minister a Muslim.
The Pontif will deliver speeches urging Christians and muslims to be "religions of peace".
As riots took place elsewhere thousands of Lebanese people, mainly Christians, lined the streets to watch the Pope pass by on his way to the president's palace. Lebanese flags today fly alongside Vatican flags.
As the Pope's peace mission unfolds, violent riots and attacks continue with two US Marines being killed in an attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.