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Muslim Outcry Grows over Pope comments
15 September 2006 22:41
I just can’t understand why the Pope would say something like this at a time when the world needs more peace, respect and tolerance between religions. And like my Egyptian friend told me: “HOWA HNA NAASSINE?”

September 15, 2006
Pope Faces First Crisis as Muslim Outcry Grows
By IAN FISHER, The New York Times
ROME, Sept. 15 — Pope Benedict XVI came under increasing critical fire t0day over comments he made about Islam, as Muslim leaders around the world angrily accused him of dividing religions and demanded an apology.
In Britain, Gaza, Iraq, Syria and Indonesia, Muslim leaders registered their protest. The Parliament in Pakistan passed a resolution against the pope’s statements, and the government later summoned the Vatican envoy to express official displeasure. In Lebanon, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the most senior Shiite cleric, demanded “a personal apology — not through his envoys.”
And emotion spilled over in Turkey, where Benedict has scheduled a visit in November, as a top official in the Islamic-rooted ruling party said that the pope is “going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini.”
“He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages,” the official, Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s government, was quoted on the state-owned Anatolia news agency. “It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades.”
Reaction to the pope’s remarks — in which he quoted a description of Islam in the 14th century as “evil and inhuman” — has presented Benedict with the first full-blown crisis of his year-and-a-half papacy. Already some in Turkey have questioned whether he should make the visit, which would be the pope’s first trip to a Muslim country. Many Muslims are also comparing his comments with the unflattering cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad which stoked deep Muslim anger earlier this year.
But unlike the cartoons crisis, the reaction has been verbal rather than violent. While several bombs reportedly exploded near a church in Gaza, it was unclear if the incident was related to the pope’s comments.
The Vatican released no official comment today. On Thursday, as Benedict returned from a six-day trip to Germany, the pope’s chief spokesman said that he had not intended to “offend the sensibility of Muslim believers.”
Meantime, other top Vatican officials also sought to tamp down the furor.
“I am convinced the pope did not mean to assume a position against Islam,” a leading German cardinal, Walter Kasper, told the Italian daily newspaper, La Repubblica.
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, a French prelate with experience in the Islamic world, was appointed today as the Vatican’s new foreign minister. He told Agence France-Presse: “The dialogue between different civilizations, cultures and religions — which nobody can hide from — will be one of the great questions which I will tackle in my new job.”
In a major speech at Regensburg University, where Benedict had taught theology, the pope delivered a long, scholarly address on reason and faith in the West. But he began his speech by recounting a conversation between the 14th century Byzantine Christian emperor, Manuel Paleologos II, and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam.
“The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war,” the pope said. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad 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. ’ ’’
Benedict did not explicitly agree with the statement nor repudiate it. He also briefly discussed the Islamic concept of “jihad,” which he defined as “holy war,” and said that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God’s nature and to reason.
But he also suggested reason as the basis for “that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”
Benedict, a respected theologian, is said to write many speeches himself, and some commentators in the Italian press speculated that the Vatican would be forced into a more stringent review of his statements in the future.
The controversy came as a new top Vatican hierarchy is being installed. Clearly its first job will be to contain the controversy. In addition to appointing Archbishop Mamberti as foreign minister, the pope installed a new secretary of state, the Vatican’s highest position after the pope. He is Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone, 71, an Italian and longtime colleague of the pope’s.
Amid the angry reaction, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who met with the pope on his trip there, defended his speech.
“Whoever criticizes the Pope misunderstood the aim of his speech,” she was quoted as saying by the Bild newspaper. “It was an invitation to dialogue between religions and the Pope expressly spoke in favor of this dialogue, which is something I also support and consider urgent and necessary.”
Salman Masood contributed reporting from Islamabad for this article.
16 September 2006 03:49
I had the chance to see, though from afar, the Late Pope JP II. A muslim I am but when I saw him I had a deep respect for the man. And somehow I consider the LAte Pope as The Pope! May be because that's the one I grew up watching on TV and hearing about...but He indeed touched people. I also was lucky to have somebody Who worked in the Vatican and who saw him so many times and was blessed by his hands! Saying all this does not belittle the current Pope who's way less popular and may be a great man, but it seems the status of THe Pope has departed with J.Paul II.
For THe current Pope to interject and say whaatever he said might be a PR move, not he needs it, becaue he's more mentioned in Fashion Shows talking about Prada and Eve Saint Laurent than on serious matters such as Wars and Poverty and Aids.
I remember reading one of those polls about the most popular personalities and names: Mohamad Ali,the LAte Pope and Mike Jordan topped a the list!
I don't many know the name/ nickname of the Current Pope.
As far as his Apology is concerned, I think given his STATUS in the World and Religious grandeur, he MUST be Beyond Erring! Priests, bishops...OK but the POPE is the Apex of the Catholic Church...
But Again, he's Human just like me and you and I know I made so many mistakes.
16 September 2006 04:34

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2006 04:38 by Almot.
16 September 2006 04:37
Dear friend yani,
I feel exactly the same way you feel about the Late Pope JP II, I really respected him and just flat out liked the man. I also was very happy when he visited Morocco in 1985 and was received in an unbelievable way by the crowd, Muslim crowd that is. I looked in the internet and found an article depicting his passage in Morocco and part of his speech that day, what a difference between the two men! And what a difference in the message they preached. I really hope the new pope changes the rhetoric in his messages and become more open and respectful towards other religions, without knowing it, I hope, he is helping the fanatics on both sides to promote their crooked interpretations of Islam and Christianity. The world doesn’t need any more fights and misunderstanding. Peace,

Part of the Article:

When he visited Morocco in August 1985, he addressed a group of thousands of young Muslims in Casablanca at the invitation of the King of Morocco. His brief was to encourage them to be good young people, committed to their religion. He said to them:
"We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection ... The Catholic Church regards with respect and recognizes the equality of your religious progress, the richness of your spiritual tradition. We Christians, also, are proud of our own religious tradition ... I believe that we, Christians and Muslims, must recognize with joy the religious values that we have in common, and give thanks to God for them ... In general, we have badly understood each other, and sometimes, in the past, we have opposed and even exhausted each other in polemics and in wars ... I believe that today, God invites us to change our old practices. We must respect each other, and we must also stimulate each other in good works on the path of God."

The rest of the article could be found here:
16 September 2006 12:33

I couldn´t believe, he could say something like that. I join you point of view guys!!
i just wanna add, that Pope J Paul II was a great man. so is not an easy job to just for any one to come in and take his place like that.

is true that the new pop will need some time before he can reach half of the satus JP II had.

like we say back home, "is better you shut op that saying som nasty things"
16 September 2006 14:13
Dear brothers and sisters,
I think we first of all must make clear that religion in Europe is not regarded as we do in our countries. Eventhough most of us try to avoid the subject, the truth is that most europeans are atheists or agnostics. That means that eventhough we see exalted masses following the Pope wherever he goes, the reality is that the Catholic Church has never been so out of touch and so ignored by the society as it is nowadays. I believe also, that most christians don't subscribe the Vatican's strategies or morals and there are also a lot of underground christian streams that fight against this Church that doesn't represent, and has never done, the real values of Christianty, which are, I believe, completely compatible with Our believes as muslims...
I think, therefore, that we shouldn't give much credit to the words of the Pope and so behave like most Europeans do: with indifference towards a clerical structure that means nothing to most of them. Let us express our indignation with facts and without enraging, let us not put ourselves into the same level of confrontation. Let's show them with facts, with peace but without ever abandoning the fight for freedom and justice, outside and inside our countries.
16 September 2006 15:45
Talking about JP II, video in Morocco:

17 September 2006 06:22
The Moroccan Foreign Ministry on Saturday confirmed to CNN that the country has recalled its envoy to the Vatican for consultations. Morocco, in North Africa, is a Muslim nation.
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