Pope's Apology Fails to Quell Protests

September 19, 2006

Source: The New York Times


On September 19, 2006 The New York Times reported, "Many Muslims insisted Monday that Pope Benedict XVI did not go far enough in his apology on Sunday for the offense caused by a speech he gave last week that discussed Islam and holy war. In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, protesters burned an effigy of the pope, and an Iraqi group linked to Al Qaeda posted a warning on a Web site threatening war against 'worshipers of the cross.' The supreme leader in Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the pope’s remarks 'the latest link' in the 'chain of conspiracy to set off a crusade.' And, as a Vatican official said its ambassadors would seek to better explain the pope’s statement, a Turkish man with a fake gun tried to storm a Protestant church in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. He was arrested after worshipers trapped him in the church entryway. Apart from the continuing anger at the pope’s speech, in which he cited a medieval passage that called Islam 'evil and inhuman,' the debate on Monday seemed to turn on whether the pope had actually apologized. Many Muslims — and some Catholics — noted that he had said only that he was sorry for the reaction that fanned out across the Muslim world. He did not say he had been wrong to have used the quotations. 'You either have to say "I’m sorry" in a proper way or don’t say it at all,' said Mehmet Aydin, a state minister in Turkey, which Benedict is scheduled to visit in November in his first trip to a Muslim country. But other Muslims either accepted the pope’s statement or called it the best they would get."