“Anyone Who Describes Islam As Intolerant Encourages Violence”
The insanity is beginning again.
Muslim students burn an effigy of Pope Benedict XVI at a protest rally in Allahabad, India, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. A growing chorus of Muslim leaders has called on the Pope to apologize for the alleged derogatory comments made by him about Islam. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Pakistani Muslims hold rally after evening prayers at a local mosque to condemn Pope’s remarks, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan’s Parliament unanimously adopts a resolution condemning Pope Benedict XVI for making what it called ‘derogatory’ comments about Islam and seeking apology from him for hurting the sentiments of Muslims. (AP Photo / B.K.Bangash)
One of the signs above reads: “Jihad is a means to end tyranny and injustice.”
Indian Kashmiri activists of the pro-Pakistani Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (MLJK) shout slogans against Pope Benedict XVI during a protest in Srinagar. A wave of Muslim outrage swept the globe after Benedict linked Islam with violence, with the Pakistani parliament demanding that he retract the statement.(AFP/Sajjad Hussain)
On Friday, Salih Kapusuz, a deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party, said Benedict’s remarks were either “the result of pitiful ignorance” about Islam and its prophet, or worse, a deliberate distortion of the truths.
“He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world,” Kapusuz blurted out in comments made to the state-owned Anatolia news agency. “It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades.”
In Beirut, Lebanon’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric denounced the remarks and demanded the pope personally apologize for insulting Islam. “We do not accept the apology through Vatican channels … and ask him (Benedict) to offer a personal apology _ not through his officials _ to Muslims for this false reading (of Islam),” Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah told worshippers in his Friday prayers sermon.
A Lebanese government official said the country’s ambassador to the Vatican has been instructed to seek clarifications on the pontiff’s remarks.
In neighboring Syria, the grand mufti, the country’s top Sunni Muslim religious authority, sent a letter to the Pope saying he feared the pontiff’s comments on Islam would worsen interfaith relations.
And in Cairo, about 100 demonstrators gathered in an anti-Vatican protest outside the capital’s al-Azhar mosque.
Pakistan’s parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the pope for making what it called “derogatory” comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry also called the pope’s remarks “regrettable.”
“Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.