Muslim religious leaders have accused Pope Benedict XVI of quoting anti-Islamic remarks during a speech at a German university this week. Questioning the concept of holy war, he quoted a 14th-Century Christian emperor who said Muhammad had brought the world only ‘evil and inhuman’ things. A senior Pakistani Islamic scholar, Javed Ahmed Gamdi, said jihad was not about spreading Islam with the sword. Turkey’s top religious official asked for an apology for the ‘hostile’ words. In Indian-administered Kashmir, police seized copies of newspapers which reported the Pope’s comments to prevent any tension. A Vatican spokesman, Father Frederico Lombardi, said he did not believe the Pope’s comments were meant as a harsh criticism of Islam. ‘Abhorrent’ In his speech at Regensburg University, the German-born pontiff explored the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity and the relationship between violence and faith. Stressing that they were not his own words, he quoted Emperor Manual II Paleologos of the Byzantine Empire, the Orthodox Christian empire which had its capital in what is now the Turkish city of Istanbul. The emperors words were, he said: ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new […]

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