Pope Benedict XVI stressed his "deep respect" for Islam as he arrived in Jordan to begin a Middle East visit.
The Pope described religious freedom as a fundamental human right, and said he hoped the Catholic church could play a role in the Middle East peace process.
The eight-day tour - in which the Pope describes himself as a "pilgrim of peace" - is his first visit to the Middle East as pontiff.
After Jordan, his tour also takes him to Israel and the West Bank.
The pontiff was met at the airport by Jordan's King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Muslim and Christian leaders.
A Jordanian army band with bagpipes and drums played the Vatican and Jordanian national anthems before the Pope and King Abdullah inspected the honour guard.
The Pope's tour of the holy places of Christendom is aimed at encouraging the minority Christian community in the Middle East, and creating a better dialogue with Muslims and Jews.
However, Jordanian Islamist leaders have demanded that he apologise for a speech in 2006 that linked Islam and violence.