A leading Turkish cleric said Tuesday that criticism of Islam is a serious threat to world peace. He spoke ahead of a visit later this month by the pope, who has come under fire for quoting a Medieval emperor's thoughts on Islam and violence.
Religious Affairs Directorate chief Ali Bardakoglu said "it was saddening" to see Islam being criticized while the religion's contribution to civilization is ignored.
"This attitude, which fuels division and lack of mutual trust, is seriously threatening world peace," Bardakoglu told a conference in Istanbul attended by several African Muslim leaders.
Bardakoglu, is expected to meet with Pope Benedict XVI during his Nov. 28-Dec. 1 visit to Turkey - his first to a predominantly Muslim country as pope.