Palestinians protest Pope's comments on Islam

About 2,000 Palestinians angrily protested Friday night against Pope Benedict XVI, accusing him of leading a new Crusade against the Muslim world. Earlier, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of the Islamic Hamas group, said the pope had offended Muslims everywhere. Speaking at a university in Germany on Tuesday, the pope quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and a Persian scholar on the truths of Christianity and Islam. "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, '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,"' he quoted the emperor as saying. He did not explicitly agree with them nor repudiate them. The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks to be offensive, but Muslim leaders condemned his comments.