Pope Benedict XVI on Monday appointed one of the Vatican's most esteemed cardinals to the sensitive post of president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Church body in charge of nurturing relations with Islam.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, a former head of the Vatican's foreign affairs office from France who strongly opposed the United States-led war in Iraq, was due to take over the post on September 1, the Vatican said in a statement.
Benedict had come under fire last year for sending his top Islamic expert to Egypt and by merging the Interreligious Dialogue office with that in charge of culture - the move suggesting he did not consider relations with Muslims to be a priority.
The pope sparked angry protests across the Muslim world last year with a speech in Germany seen as suggesting links between violence and Islam.
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