Cairo: Egypt`s ruling Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood has said it hopes the new head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, would be a more tolerant pontiff than his predecessor Benedict XVI.
"We hope that the new pope will be more tolerant and far-seeing than the last one," said Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan.
Argentine cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis I, is said to have been the runner-up in the conclave that elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.
"The previous pope had an approach (to inter-faith relations) that was at times provocative and his words appeared to attack the Prophet Mohammad," said Ghozlan.
A speech delivered by Benedict in Regensberg, Germany in 2006 sparked a deadly wave of riots in the Muslim world when he cited a 14th-Century Byzantine emperor who criticised Islam as a violent faith and labelled Mohammad "evil and inhuman", he said.
"We hope that Pope Francis is an open-minded and tolerant man, who will work for world peace and respect between religions, in accordance with Christ`s teachings," Ghozlan added.
Ghozlan also said he hoped to see improved relations between the Vatican and Cairo`s al-Azhar Institution, one of the highest authorities in Sunni Islamic learning.
Al-Azhar suspended a twice-yearly dialogue with the Vatican in January 2011 after Benedict XVI called for greater protection of Christians following a series of attacks on Christians and churches in the region.