ROME, Sept. 14 -Pope at Regensburg University with what he conceded were “brusque” words about Islam: He quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor as saying, “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 also used the word “jihad,” or holy war, saying that violence was contrary to God’s nature and to reason. But, at the end of a speech that did not otherwise mention Islam, he also said that reason could be the basis for “that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.”
Muslim leaders strongly criticized a speech he gave on his trip that used unflattering language about Islam.
Some of the strongest words came from Turkey, possibly putting in jeopardy Benedict’s scheduled visit there in November.
“I do not think any good will come from the visit to the Muslim world of a person who has such ideas about Islam’s prophet,” Ali Bardakoglu, a cleric who is head of the Turkish government’s directorate of religious affairs, said in a television interview there. “He should first of all replace the grudge in his heart with moral values and respect for the other.”
The criticism from Mr. Bardakoglu, the Islamic leader in Turkey, was especially strong, and carries with it particular embarrassment if Benedict is forced to cancel or delay his visit to Turkey. Many Turks are already critical of Benedict, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had in 2004 opposed Turkey’s entry into the European Union.
The official, Mr. Bardakoglu, demanded an apology, saying that the remarks “reflect the hatred in his heart – it is a statement full of enmity and grudge.” (Courtesy Newyork Times)