King Abdullah II, Pope Benedict XVI Meet

King Abdullah II (search) of Jordan paid Pope Benedict XVI (search) a visit on Monday, saying he wanted to foster an honest dialogue between the West and moderate Islam.

Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania, called on the pope at his papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

In a letter published Monday in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (search), Abdullah appealed to the world to reject attempts by extremists to drive Islam and the West to a clash of civilizations.

"All of us must assume the responsibility to refute hatred, ignorance and violence," he wrote. "This requires an honest and continuous dialogue between the West and the Islamic world."

He said his audience with the pope was part of that effort and "will take forward a positive and respectful confrontation between our two faiths."

Benedict has echoed similar themes in his comments about terrorism and relations with Muslims.

During his meeting with Muslim leaders last month in Cologne, Germany, the pope invited Muslims to join Christians in trying to combat the spread of terrorism and "turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism" behind it.

In his letter, Abdullah noted the Jordanian government initiative known as the "Amman Message," which calls on Muslims to reject extremism, embrace moderation and tolerate other religions. He said the initiative sought to "unite the voices of moderation that constitute the majority of Muslims here in Italy, in Jordan and across the world."