The Vatican said the invitation was delivered by a delegation of Muslims who met with Francis privately this morning inside the Vatican.

No date has been set. The head of the Union of the Italian Islamic Community, Izzedin Elizir, told the television station of the Italian bishops' conference that the visit could come as early as January 27.

The Vatican had no comment other than to confirm the invitation had been received.

Francis has visited several houses of Muslim worship during his foreign trips, including in Istanbul, Jerusalem, and more recently in the Central African Republic.

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