This is what the fuss is all about:
The Pope quoted from a book according to which, he said, the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II had said: "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."
The Pope used the words "I quote" twice before repeating the emperor's reported remarks on Islam, which he described as "brusque".
Some Reactions in Defence of the Pope:
- The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had not intended to offend
- Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, said Muslims must learn to enter into dialogue without "crying foul".
On the Other Hand:
- Pakistan's parliament today unanimously adopted a resolution condemning him for making "derogatory" comments about Islam and seeking an apology from him for hurting the feelings of Muslims.
- Muslim leaders around the world have criticised his use of the emperor's words.
- The Lebanese prime minister, Fuad Saniora, instructed Lebanon's ambassador to the Vatican to seek clarifications on the pontiff's remarks.
- Syria's grand mufti sent a letter to the Pope in which he said he feared the comments would worsen inter-faith relations.
- The Muslim Council of Britain has called on the Pope to urgently clarify his remarks. "The Byzantine emperor's views about Islam were ill-informed and, frankly, bigoted," Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the organisation's secretary general, said.
- An influential Iranian cleric joined the chorus, calling the comments "absurd" and claiming they showed the pontiff knew little about the religion.
- Turkey's most senior Islamic cleric also asked the Pope to apologise for the remarks, which raised tensions ahead of the pontiff's planned visit to Turkey in November.
- In Egypt, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, joined the calls for an official apology, saying the remarks quoted "do not express correct understanding of Islam and are merely wrong and distorted beliefs being repeated in the west".
I think there is alot of over reaction. The Pope is not a cartoonist his is a scholar. If anyone has any objections to what he said, then he/she shuld engage in a civilized dialogue instead of cheap demagogism. This is my view.
Benedict though must remember that he is not just a scholar. He is the fucking Pope. Maybe he should be a little bit more careful with what he says because being under the spotlight all the time means that he can very easily be misinterpreted and what he says may be taken out of context.
Pope Benedict said he is sorry about the offence caused by his speech, so case closed... I hope!