Back in pre-Vatican II times, when the Mass was celebrated in Latin and with much more pomp and ceremony than is the case these days, the kiss was a significant part of the goings-on at the altar.
KISS, as a mark of honour. 1. Liturgical. The altar is kissed nine times (including whenever he turns his back to it) by the celebrant at Mass as symbolizing Christ, he kisses the gospels and the paten, the server kisses the cruets at the offertory (but not in Requiem Masses), etc. The hand of the celebrant or officiant and the article handed are kissed by the minister whenever he gives or receives anything from him; but such kissing is omitted when Mass is celebrated coram Sanctissimo. When receiving holy Communion from a bishop or abbot his ring is kissed first: this is a survival of the old kiss of peace at this point. The prelate kisses the feet which he washes at Mandatum on Maundy Thursday. In a papal Mass the pope's foot is kissed by the Latin and Greek deacons and by cardinals and others on certain occasions connected with his election (adoration, etc.).
ii. Extra-liturgical. In private audiences the pope's foot (i.e., the cross on his right shoe) is kissed by the visitor; bishops kiss his knee as well; this sign of respect for the Vicar of Christ was formerly given to other patriarchs and even to temporal sovereigns. The ordinary mark of honour to a cardinal, bishop or abbot is to bend the knee and kiss his ring. Relics are kissed ceremonially in church by way of veneration. The kissing of holy images, shrines, etc., is far more common in the East than in the West; it is simply the natural extension of the instinct to kiss the picture of a lover or parent, which is not strange to us.— Donald Attwater, Ed., A Catholic Dictionary, © 1942, The MacMillan Company, p. 292
It just could be that when the Emperor of Catholicism planted a wet one on the tarmac of an airfield on foreign soil, he was rendering "an ordinary mark of honour." On the other hand, he might have been venerating that bit of tarmac in much the same way that Catholics venerate relics and other stuff by way of a kiss. Of course, it could just be "the natural extension of the instinct to kiss the picture of a lover or parent."
But how to explain his bowing before the book that is at the core of the Islamic religion? Was he rendering veneration to that collection of utterances attributed to the inventor of a bloody religion? Some might argue that the pope really was bowing to patriarch Raphael I, not the book. If that were so, why would the gypsy pope have kissed that book we know as the Koran?
There is the possibility that Karol was playing the whore to his Iraqi visitors; perhaps in the hope that they would be seduced into buying into his ecumenical scheme. If that were the case, his seductive behavior surely did not pay off, as evidenced by the following excerpt from a sermon preached in a Saudi Arabian mosque in Mecca a few years after JP2 bussed the Koran demonstrates:
[ISLAM] believes that only Islam and the 'Camp of Kufur' exist, and that there is no way to reach Paradise and to be delivered from Hell except by walking in the path of our Prophet Muhammad and joining Islam. Any other way leads to Hell… In light of this, my believing brethren, how can it be claimed that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all paths leading to Allah?!…
Several years ago, a sinful call arose, which unfortunately garnered support from some clerics and preachers of this religion, Islam… for the unification of the monotheistic religions. They flaunted an empty and false slogan of 'religious harmony,' Christian-Islamic friendship, and uniting the three religions into a global religion'…
The call for the unification of the religions is a call for the abolition of religious differences among people: No more Muslim and infidel. All will come under the unity of human harmony… This accursed call has ramifications that most certainly will shake Islam in the hearts of its people, leading them to the lowest of the levels of Hell. This call will lead… to presenting the infidels' schools of thought as correct, and to silence regarding them; to permitting conversion to Judaism and Christianity with no shame whatsoever; to the abolition of the vast difference between the Muslims and others - a difference underpinning the conflict between truth and falsehood; to the transformation of the religion of Islam into a religion like the other, false religions, into a religion that has no advantage over the other religions…; to refraining from calling [PEOPLE] to join Islam, because if the Muslim wants to do so, he must tell the truth about the infidels… This will also facilitate the conversion to Christianity in Muslim lands.
The Pope's recent visit to Syria, to the Al-Umawi mosque is, without a doubt, another manifestation of that call. The call by [THE Pope] - may Allah punish him as he deserves - to the people of the [DIFFERENT] religions in Syria to live in peaceful coexistence is nothing more than an audacious call for the unification of religions, in accordance with the principle of human religious harmony… This Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, and those behind him calling for the unification of the religions, are the descendants of the Spanish inquisitors who tortured the Muslims most abominably… They are the descendants of those who led the Crusades to the Islamic East, in which thousands of Muslims were killed and their wives taken captive in uncountable numbers. They are the perpetrators of the massacres in Bosnia-Herzegovina… in Kosovo, in Indonesia, and in Chechnya… Can we expect compassion from these murderous wolves? What made the Pope go on his visit was his dissatisfaction with the robbing of the Muslims' lands; he wanted also to rob their religion, so that they lose both this world and the Hereafter…
[THIS is]… a call to dismantle the pact among Muslims in all the corners of the Islamic world and to replace it with an accursed alternative harmony - the 'Harmony of the Jews and Christians.' This is, in truth, a call to Muslims to stop accusing Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims of being infidels… -- Sheikh Adnan Ahmad Siyami, quoted in a Special Report of the Middle East Media Research Institute, September 26, 2002 © 2001, 2002, 2003 Middle East Media Research Institute
[Emphasis not in original]
N.B. the full text of the Sheikh's harangue can be read at the MEMRI site, along with a number of other anti-Christian/Anti-Jewish sermons preached that day.
To get an idea of some of the ways that Islam differs from the Christian faith, some readers may find it useful to visit the Islam and Christianity website, which compares foundational doctrines of Islam with those of Christianity.
How fortunate for John Paul's ecumenical aspirations that the Catholic Church doesn't pay much attention to the inspired words of the Sacred Scriptures. I suppose that by putting a Magisterial spin on the words of the Apostle Paul, the Catholic panjandrum didn't believe that he did anything that would upset Almighty God.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.--2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Now that I think of it, doing a work-around of biblical proscriptions is something the Catholic Church has been doing for centuries.