Lebanese cleric denounces Pope's remarks on Islam

Lebanon's most senior Shi'ite Muslim cleric on Friday denounced Pope Benedict XVI's recent remarks about Muslim holy war, 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. Fadlallah's words were some of the strongest yet in response to the pontiff's remarks on Islam's prophet Muhammad and holy war, during a speech this week in Germany, which angered many in the Muslim world.