Pope Benedict has said he is sorry for offending Muslims after he publicly paralleled the religion of Islam with violence on Tuesday at a German university. His remarks have caused an uproar in the Muslim world in the past few days.
The Vatican issued a statement today saying Pope Benedict XVI was ‘extremely upset’ that parts of his speech ‘were able to sound offensive to the senisbilities of Muslim believers.’
Tarcisio Bertone, The Vatican secretary of state, issued the statement and said the Pope hoped Muslims would understand the ‘true sense’ of his words.
Bertone also said, ‘The Pope is unequivocally in favour of dialogue between religions and cultures.’ He defended the remarks made by the Pope by claiming the comments had been interpreted in a way that ‘does not at all correspond to his intentions.’
However, Egypt’s “The Muslim Brotherhood” a reformist party has rejected the apology. Mohammed Habib, deputy leader of the organisation has responded to the Vatican statement by saying ‘We want a personal apology’ and ‘We feel that he (the Pope) has committed a grave error.’
The Pope ignited an Islamic outcry On Tuesday after he cited an obscure text from medieval times, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman.’ Muslims responded with demonstrations in Palestine, India, Egypt and across the Arab world, even secular Islamic nation, Turkey. The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan was critical of the Pope as he called for an apology to these ‘unfortunate’ and ‘ugly’ remarks. The Pope was scheduled to visit Turkey in November, however Turkey has confirmed it cannot promise 100 percent security.
Some hardliners, like Abubukar Hassan Malin, have even called on Muslims to hunt the Pope down and seek “revenge on the baseless critic called the Pope.” The Islamic clergy gave his public statement following the Vatican’s issuance.
Amid growing tensions between Islam and the West, prominent Christian delegates have also denounced the Pope’s remarks.