Muslims outraged at Pope’s words, Vatican says he did not intend to offend

.- Pope Benedict XVI did not intend to offend Muslims with remarks about holy war during his pilgrimage in Germany this week, the Vatican said.  The Pontiff’s remarks, which briefly touched on the irrationality of forcefully compelling people to “believe” in a religion have drawn outrage from several voices in the Muslim world.

Several Muslim clerics have called on the Pope to apologize for his statements, made during a speech at the University of Regensburg this week.  However, some militant Islamic websites have gone further, unleashing a scathing campaign against the Pope, reported The Associated Press. The incident may also create tensions for the pontiff’s November visit with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Turkey, which is 99 percent Muslim.

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'" he quoted the emperor as saying.

“A just consideration of the religious dimension is, in fact, an essential premise for fruitful dialogue with the great cultures and religions of the world. And indeed, in concluding his address in Regensburg, Benedict XVI affirmed how 'the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions,” Lombardi said.

According to the AP, Turkey's top Islamic cleric asked Benedict to apologize about the remarks and unleashed a string of accusations against Christianity.

It described the pope's statements as evidence of ignorance of Islamic teachings. It said such statements could allow the United States to justify their military operations in the Middle East and trigger cultural and religious clashes between the east and west.

Al-Kubaisi said that the Pope should take a look at verse 2: 256 of the Quran, which says there is to be "no force in religion." 

Pope Benedict actually quoted that exact verse, even citing the paragraph number, at the beginning of his remarks.

For the full text of the Holy Father’s remarks see our special coverage at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/bavaria06/message9.htm

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