J'lem mufti demands apology from Pope

Urges Palestinians to stop attacks on churches but holds pontiff responsible.

September 19, 2006 13:45
1 minute read.
J'lem mufti demands apology from Pope

mufti 298.88. (photo credit: AP)


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The mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein demanded on Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI offer a "clear apology" for remarks about Islam that ignited protests across the Muslim world. Hussein, urged Palestinians to stop their attacks on churches, but held the pontiff responsible for the outpouring of Muslim anger.

  • Pope's background is theological, not diplomatic
  • New group blog: Burning Issues "So far, we consider the apology of the Vatican Pope insufficient," Hussein told reporters. "We firmly ask the Vatican Pope to offer a personal, public and clear apology to the 1.5 billion Muslims in this world." Benedict touched off the furor last week by quoting a medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Islam's founder, the Prophet Mohammed, as "evil and inhuman," and branded Islam a religion spread by the sword. The pontiff tried to defuse the outrage by saying he was "deeply sorry" for the reactions. But because he didn't explicitly acknowledge doing anything wrong, many Muslims don't think his apology went far enough. Seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza were attacked following Benedict's comments. Damage was minor and no one was hurt, but it unsettled the small Christian minority, which accounts for about 2 percent of the 3.4 million Palestinians. Hussein said the attacks on churches were "an angry reaction" stemming from intolerance, ignorance and attempts to ignite sedition. "We condemn any attack on churches, because it is an attack on the places of worship of others, protected clearly by Islam," Hussein said. "The religion is clear, but I hold the Vatican Pope responsible for all the anger in the Muslim street."

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