Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy
The Regensburg lecture was delivered on 12 September 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 at the University of Regensburg
University of Regensburg
The University of Regensburg is a public research university located in the medieval city of Regensburg, Bavaria, a city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university was founded on July 18, 1962 by the Landtag of Bavaria as the fourth full-fledged university in Bavaria...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, where he had once served as a professor of theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. It was entitled "Glaube, Vernunft und Universität — Erinnerungen und Reflexionen" . The lecture is considered to be among the most important papal statements on world affairs since John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's 1995 address to the United Nations, and sparked international reactions and controversy.

In his lecture, the pope, speaking in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, quoted an unfavorable remark about Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 made at the end of the 14th century by Manuel II Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos or Palaeologus was Byzantine Emperor from 1391 to 1425.-Life:...

, the Byzantine emperor. As the English translation of the pope's lecture was disseminated across the world, many Islamic politicians and religious leaders
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 protested against what they saw as an insulting mischaracterization of Islam.

Mass street protests were mounted in many Islamic countries, the Majlis-e-Shoora
The Parliament of Pakistan, officially termed the Majlis-e-Shoora ; is the federal and supreme legislative body of Pakistan. It is a bicameral federal legislature that consists of the Senate and the National Assembly, the upper and lower houses, respectively...

Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i parliament) unanimously called on the Pope to retract "this objectionable statement". The pope maintained that the comment he had quoted did not reflect his own views, and he offered an apology to Muslims.

The controversial comment originally appeared in the 7th of the 26 Dialogues Held With A Certain Persian, the Worthy Mouterizes, in Anakara of Galatia, written in 1391 as an expression of the views of the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, one of the last Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 rulers before the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the Muslim Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, on such issues as forced conversion
Forced conversion
A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

, holy war
Religious war
A religious war; Latin: bellum sacrum; is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religiously motivated group attempting to...

, and the relationship between faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 and reason
Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

. The passage, in the English translation published by the Vatican
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

, is as follows:

The pope had consulted a bilingual critical edition of this dialogue in the original Greek and with French translation.

Pope Benedict XVI's lecture

The lecture on faith and reason, with references ranging from ancient Jewish and Greek
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 thinking to Protestant
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 theology and modern secularity
Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

, focused mainly on Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and what Pope Benedict called the tendency to "exclude the question of God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

" from reason. Islam features in a part of the lecture: the Pope quoted a strong criticism of Islam, which he described as being of a "startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded".

The author of this criticism was the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos (or Paleologus) in a 1391 dialogue
Dialogue is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people....

 with an "educated Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

" (who remained unnamed in all the dialogues), as well as observations on this argument made by Theodore Khoury
Theodore Khoury
Professor Adel Theodor Khoury is a Catholic theologian.Until his retirement in 1993 Khoury was head of the theology department of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany....

, the scholar whose edition of the dialog in question the pontiff
A pontiff was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the principal college of priests . The term "pontiff" was later applied to any high or chief priest and, in ecclesiastical usage, to a bishop and more particularly to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope or "Roman Pontiff".-Etymology:The English term derives...

 was referencing. Pope Benedict used Manuel II's argument in order to draw a distinction between a Christian view, as expressed by Manuel II, that "not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature", and an allegedly Islamic view, as explained by Khoury, that God transcends concepts such as rationality
In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

, and his will, as Ibn Hazm
Ibn Hazm
Abū Muḥammad ʿAlī ibn Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd ibn Ḥazm ) was an Andalusian philosopher, litterateur, psychologist, historian, jurist and theologian born in Córdoba, present-day Spain...

 stated, is not constrained by any principle, including rationality.

As a part of his explication of this distinction, Pope Benedict referred to a specific aspect of Islam that Manuel II considered irrational, namely the practice of forced conversion
Forced conversion
A forced conversion is the religious conversion or acceptance of a philosophy against the will of the subject, often with the threatened consequence of earthly penalties or harm. These consequences range from job loss and social isolation to incarceration, torture or death...

. Specifically, the Pope (making clear that they were the Emperor's words, not his own) quoted Manuel II Palaiologos as saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only bad and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The pontiff was comparing apparently contradictory passages from the Qur'an, one being that "There is no compulsion in religion", the other being that it is acceptable to "spread the faith through violence". The pontiff argued the latter teaching to be unreasonable and advocated that religious conversion should take place through the use of reason. His larger point here was that, generally speaking, in Christianity, God is understood to act in accordance with reason, while in Islam, God's absolute transcendence
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 means that "God is not bound even by his own word", and can act in ways contrary to reason, including self-contradiction. At the end of his lecture, the Pope said, "It is to the great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures."

Key paragraphs

Quoted below are the three paragraphs (of sixteen total) which discuss Islam in Pope Benedict's lecture:

Translation differences

The original German text of the Pope's lecture as published at the Vatican website differs slightly in several respects from the English translation, despite both versions being official (though "provisional") Vatican versions. It is unknown whether this had an impact on perceptions of the speech.

As for the emperor's quote employed by the Pope, the translation "evil and inhuman" is doubtful. What the Pope said in German, according to the audio recording of his address and the subsequent German text, was "nur Schlechtes und Inhumanes finden". The German adjective schlecht is usually translated as "bad" but includes evil; the English word evil would usually correspond to böse. The German adjective inhuman normally translates as inhumane which in English is subtly different from inhuman. As for meaning, therefore, "find only things which are bad and inhumane" might seem to be a more accurate English translation of the Pope's utterance to someone who did not consider the context of the utterance. However in context the correct translation is clearly 'evil and inhuman' (as a grammatical advisory, the use of initial capital letters would indicate that the two words are nouns; in this case they are adjectives being used as nouns, hence the introduction of the word "things" into the English translation.)

Another difference between the German original and the Vatican's English translation is the place where the word "jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

" has been omitted from the English: the original statement "The emperor touches on the theme of jihad, holy war" (kommt der Kaiser auf das Thema des Djihad, des heiligen Krieges zu sprechen) became in the English rendition "The emperor touches on the theme of the [sic] holy war." (In this context, the use of the word "the" before "holy war" is a grammatical mistake.)


– Foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Ahmed Aboul-Gheit is an Egyptian diplomat who was the Foreign Minister of Egypt from 11 July 2004 to 6 March 2011, since the government of Ahmed Nazif took office. Aboul-Gheit previously served as Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations. In December 2005 he began mediating the Chad-Sudan conflict...

: " This was a very unfortunate statement and it is a statement that shows that there is a lack of understanding of real Islam. And because of this we are hopeful that such statements and such positions would not be stated in order to not allow tension and distrust and recriminations to brew between the Muslim as well as the west." The Vatican envoy was also summoned.
– Morocco recalled its ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to the Vatican.


- Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 praised the Pontiff's "love of humanity," and said: "We all need to understand that offense can sometimes be taken when perhaps we don't see it."


– The Guardian Council
Guardian Council
The Guardian Council of the Constitution , also known as the Guardian Council or Council of Guardians, is an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran....

 said the Pope was part of "a series of Western conspiracy against Islam" and had "linked Islam to violence and challenged Jihad at a time when he apparently closed his eyes to the crimes being perpetrated against defenseless Muslims by the leaders of power and hypocrisy under flag of Christianity and Jewish religion". President
President of Iran
The President of Iran is the highest popularly elected official in, and the head of government of the Islamic Republic of Iran; although subordinate to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state...

 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that "Regarding the issue of the Pope's comments, we respect the pope and all of those who are interested in peace and justice."
Iraqi Transitional Government
The Iraqi Transitional Government was the government of Iraq from May 3rd, 2005, when it replaced the Iraqi Interim Government, until May 20th, 2006, when it was replaced by the first permanent government....

 spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said that "The Pope's remarks reflect his misunderstanding of the principles of Islam and its teachings that call for forgiveness, compassion and mercy," but also called on Iraqis not to harm "our Christian brothers."
– Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh
Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh
Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Lateef Aal ash-Shaikh is a Muslim scholar and the current Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia.-Biography:...

 , following the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy, he called the pope's declaration "lies", adding that they "show that reconciliation between religions is impossible".
President of Indonesia
The President of the Republic of Indonesia is the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Indonesia.The first president was Sukarno and the current president is Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.- Sukarno era :...

 Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono AC , is an Indonesian politician and retired Army general officer who has been President of Indonesia since 2004....

 stated that the Pope's comments were "unwise and inappropriate," but also that "Indonesian Muslims should have wisdom, patience, and self-restraint to address this sensitive issue....We need them so that harmony among people is not at stake."
Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi is a Malaysian politician who served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2009. He was also the President of the United Malays National Organisation , the largest political party in Malaysia, and led the governing Barisan Nasional parliamentary coalition...

 said, "The Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created. The Vatican must now take full responsibility over the matter and carry out the necessary steps to rectify the mistake."
Vice-President of India
Vice-President of India
The Vice-President of India is the second-highest ranking government official in the executive branch of the Government of India, after the President...

 Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Mohammad Hamid Ansari ) is the 12th and current Vice President of India. He is a former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities...

 who at the time was the chairman of India's National Commission for Minorities
National Commission for Minorities
The National Commission for Minorities is a body constituted by the Government of India to monitor and evaluate the progress of people classified as minorities by the Indian government. Essentially the minorities in India consist of followers of all religions other than Hinduism and weaker...

 said: "The language used by the Pope sounds like that of his 12th-Century counterpart who ordered the crusades... It surprises me because the Vatican has a very comprehensive relationship with the Muslim world.".
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, in a speech at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, called for legislation against "defamation of Islam." Pakistan's parliament
The Parliament of Pakistan, officially termed the Majlis-e-Shoora ; is the federal and supreme legislative body of Pakistan. It is a bicameral federal legislature that consists of the Senate and the National Assembly, the upper and lower houses, respectively...

, issued a statement saying "The derogatory remarks of the Pope about the philosophy of jihad and Prophet Muhammad have injured sentiments across the Muslim world and pose the danger of spreading acrimony among the religions." Pakistan's Foreign Ministry
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Pakistan)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also known as Foreign Ministry, is a Government of Pakistan's federal and executive Ministry which is responsible for international and Foreign Affairs. The ministry was created in 1947, and was one of the first ministries to be established...

 spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said, "Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence."
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 leader and Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority is the head of government of the Palestinian Authority government.The Prime Minister's Office was created in 2003 to manage day-to-day activities of the Palestinian government. The position was created because both Israel and the United...

 Ismail Haniyeh condemned the Pope's remarks: "In the name of the Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

, we condemn the pope's remarks on Islam. These remarks go against the truth and touch the heart of our faith." He also denounced the Palestinian attacks on churches in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003 and is chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party , which holds a majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Erdoğan served as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He graduated in 1981 from Marmara...

 said: "I believe it is a must for (the Pope) to retract his erroneous, ugly and unfortunate remarks and apologise both to the Islamic world and Muslims. …I hope he rapidly amends the mistake he has made so as not to overshadow the dialogue between civilizations and religions.
- President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Ali Abdullah Saleh
Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh is the first President of the Republic of Yemen. Saleh previously served as President of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1978 until 1990, at which time he assumed the office of chairman of the Presidential Council of a post-unification Yemen. He is the...

 has threatened to sever diplomatic ties with the Vatican.


–Former Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 backed the Pope's comments, saying that angry response from the Islamic world is "disproportionate, strange and disappointing". He also stated that Muslims should "move on", adding that, "I don't, at the moment, note terrorist groups killing people and invoking the authority of the Catholic Church".


– President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 warned against "anything that increases tensions between peoples or religions".
– Chancellor Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel
Angela Dorothea Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany . Merkel, elected to the Bundestag from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, has been the chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000, and chairwoman of the CDU-CSU parliamentary coalition from 2002 to 2005.From 2005 to 2009 she led a...

 said: "Whoever criticises the Pope misunderstood the aim of his speech… It was an invitation to dialogue between religions and the Pope expressedly spoke in favour of this dialogue, which is something I also support and consider urgent and necessary."
Prime Minister
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

 Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi
Romano Prodi is an Italian politician and statesman. He served as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 17 May 1996 to 21 October 1998 and from 17 May 2006 to 8 May 2008...

 said: "There cannot be any controversy... Religious dialogue and respect for every faith are essential today and religion does not justify any type of violence."
– Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin
Pascal Couchepin
Pascal Couchepin is a Swiss politician, former member of the Swiss Federal Council and President of the Confederation in 2003 and 2008...

 stated the Pope's speech was "intelligent and necessary."
- The director of the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 press office stated: "Pope Benedict's remarks about jihad may have been taken out of context but they were not an aberration. On the contrary, they stem from his thinking about Islam and the West in the one and a half years since he became Pope. It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject, still less to offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful. Quite the contrary, what emerges clearly from the Holy Father’s discourses is a warning, addressed to Western culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'"


  • The Organisation of the Islamic Conference
    Organisation of the Islamic Conference
    The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Upon the groups's renaming, some sources provided the English-language translation "Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation", but and have since indicated the preferred English translation omits the "the". is an international organisation consisting of 57...

     said "The OIC hopes that this sudden campaign does not reflect a new trend for the Vatican policy toward the Islamic religion… and it expects the Vatican to express its real vision of Islam", called it "character assassination of the Prophet
    Prophets of Islam
    Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

     Mohammed" and a "smear campaign.", and asked the United Nations Human Rights Council
    United Nations Human Rights Council
    The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights , and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly...

     to address the Pope's remarks. – A European Commission
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     spokesman objected to "picking quotes out of context", and said the commission would not "clarify or interpret" the speech, because they consider it "a theological contribution to a theological debate." He added that "reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable."


  • Cardinal
    Cardinal (Catholicism)
    A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

     Jean-Marie Lustiger said "We are faced with a media-driven phenomenon bordering on the absurd... If the game consists in unleashing the crowd’s vindictiveness on words that it has not understood, then the conditions for dialogue with Islam are no longer met."
  • Abbot
    The word abbot, meaning father, is a title given to the head of a monastery in various traditions, including Christianity. The office may also be given as an honorary title to a clergyman who is not actually the head of a monastery...

    Primate (religion)
    Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

     Notker Wolf
    Notker Wolf
    Notker Wolf OSB is the current Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was elected to his position as Abbot Primate in 2000, succeeding Marcel Rooney. He lives at the Confederation's headquarters at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. The position is largely honorary...

    , head of the worldwide Roman Catholic Benedictine Confederation
    Benedictine Confederation
    The Benedictine Confederation of the Order of Saint Benedict is the international governing body of the Order of Saint Benedict.-Origin:...

     of the Order of Saint Benedict
    Order of Saint Benedict
    The Order of Saint Benedict is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of St. Benedict. Within the order, each individual community maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests...

    , said that the Pope used Manuel's dialogue with a Persian to make an indirect reference to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I have heard he plans to write a letter to the Pope," Wolf added. "I think this would be a good opportunity to take up the gauntlet, so to speak, and really discuss things."
  • Cardinal George Pell
    George Pell
    George Pell AC is an Australian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the eighth and current Archbishop of Sydney, serving since 2001. He previously served as auxiliary bishop and archbishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne...

     of Australia has backed the Pope's comments, saying he does not "rule out the link between Islam and violence" and that "The violent reaction in many parts of the Islamic world justified one of Pope Benedict's main fears".
  • Cardinal Secretary of State
    Cardinal Secretary of State
    The Cardinal Secretary of State—officially Secretary of State of His Holiness The Pope—presides over the Holy See, usually known as the "Vatican", Secretariat of State, which is the oldest and most important dicastery of the Roman Curia...

     Bertone said: "Addressing the world's other religious faiths is part of the Church's mission... We must all return to the original source of human life, which is love."

Other Christian

  • Shenouda III
    Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria
    Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is the 117th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria...

    , the Coptic Pope of Alexandria while admitting that he hadn't heard the exact words used by Pope Benedict XVI, said that "any remarks which offend Islam and Muslims are against the teachings of Christ
    Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

  • Rowan Williams
    Rowan Williams
    Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

    , the Archbishop of Canterbury
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

     and head Anglican Primate of All England of the Anglican Church
    Anglican Communion
    The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

    , said: "There are elements in Islam that can be used to justify violence, just as there are in Christianity and Judaism."
  • Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey
    George Carey
    George Leonard Carey, Baron Carey of Clifton PC, FKC is a former Archbishop of Canterbury, holding the office from 1991 to 2002. He was the first modern holder of the office not to have attended Oxford or Cambridge University...

     dismissed Muslim charges that the Pope had "rubbished" Islam and stated that "Muslims, as well as Christians, must learn to enter into dialogue without crying 'foul'."
  • R. Todd Wise, a Reformed Church in America
    Reformed Church in America
    The Reformed Church in America is a mainline Reformed Protestant denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 170,000 members, with the total declining in recent decades. From its beginning in 1628 until 1819, it was the North American branch of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1819, it...

     minister and religious scholar, noted a heavy reliance on analogia entis rather than analogia fidei in Pope Benedict XVI's lecture, and suggested a priority for considering "faith as the common ground" in the approach to Islam.


  • On 13 October 2006, one month to the day after Pope Benedict XVI’s address, 38 Islamic authorities and scholars from around the world, representing all denominations and schools of thought, joined together to deliver an answer to the Pope in the spirit of open intellectual exchange and mutual understanding, speaking about the true teachings of Islam.

  • Exactly one year later , on 13 October 2007, 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals unanimously came together for the first time since the days of Muhammed to declare the common ground between Christianity and Islam in their letter titled 'In A Common Word Between Us and You'. The letter was addressed to the leaders of all the world’s churches, and to Christians everywhere.

  • Ali Bardakoğlu
    Ali Bardakoglu
    Ali Bardakoğlu is the former president of Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı and as such the highest Islamic authority in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.-Background:...

    , the head of the Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey, commented that the Pope's statements "were extraordinarily worrying, very unfortunate, both in the name of Christianity, and in the name of shared humanity," and called on Pope Benedict to either retract or apologize for his conduct. He added "if there is a religious antagonism in the West, it's the responsibility of the logic-ignoring Christian Church [sic]", citing historical incidents of religious oppression in Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

     and the Americas
    The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

    . He also implied that the Pope should consider cancelling his trip to Turkey that was originally planned for November 2006. Bardakoğlu later admitted to not having read the Pope's lecture before making his statements.

  • Mohammed Mahdi Akef from the Muslim Brotherhood
    Muslim Brotherhood
    The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

     said the remarks "threaten world peace" and "pour oil on the fire and ignite the wrath of the whole Islamic world to prove the claims of enmity of politicians and religious men in the West to whatever is Islamic."

  • Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
    Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy
    Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy was an influential Islamic scholar in Egypt. From 1986 to 1996, he was the grand Mufti of Egypt...

    , Grand Sheikh
    Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

     of Al-Azhar University
    Al-Azhar University
    Al-Azhar University is an educational institute in Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 970~972 as a madrasa, it is the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world. It is the oldest degree-granting university in Egypt. In 1961 non-religious subjects were added to its curriculum.It is...

     in Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

    , conveyed the university's position that the Pope's comments about Islam "indicate clear ignorance" of the religion and "attribute to Islam what it does not contain."

  • Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi
    Yusuf al-Qaradawi
    Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a controversial Egyptian Islamic theologian. He is best known for his programme, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat , broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide...

    , Egyptian Muslim cleric
    Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

     and head of Islamic Scholars' Association; " Our hands are outstretched and our religion calls for peace, not for war, for love not for hatred, for tolerance, not for fanaticism
    Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby...

    , for knowing each other and not for disavowing each other. We condemn this and we want to know the explanation of this and what is intended by this. We call on the pope, the pontiff, to apologise to the Islamic nation because he has insulted its religion and Prophet, its faith and Sharia
    Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

     without any justification."

  • Ahmad Khatami
    Ahmad Khatami
    Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami is a senior Iranian Ayatollah, as well as a senior member of the Assembly of Experts. In December of 2005, Ali Khamenei appointed him as Tehran’s substitute Friday prayer leader.He was born in the town of Nīr, Northern Iran...

    , one of Iran's most influential clerics asked the Pope to "fall on his knees in front of a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam."

  • Aga Khan IV
    Aga Khan IV
    Prince Karim, Aga Khan IV, NPk, NI, KBE, CC, GCC, GCIH, GCM is the 49th and current Imam of the Shia Imami Nizari Ismaili Muslims. He has held this position under the title of Aga Khan since July 11, 1957, when, at the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan...

    , leader of the Nizari Ismaili branch of Islam said: "I have two reactions to the pope's lecture: There is my concern about the degradation of relations and, at the same time, I see an opportunity. A chance to talk about a serious, important issue: the relationship between faith and logic"

  • Tariq Ramadan
    Tariq Ramadan
    Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss academic, poet and writer. He is also a Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University...

    , an influential visiting fellow in the University of Oxford
    University of Oxford
    The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

    , said "Most did not read the pope's speech; others had relied on a sketchy summary according to which the pope had linked Islam and violence.. certain groups or governments manipulate crises of this kind as a safety valve for both their restive populations and their own political agenda.. the mass protests... end up providing a living proof that Muslims cannot engage in reasonable debate and that verbal aggression and violence are more the rule than the exception."


  • In a letter to the Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Sephardic
    Sephardi Jews
    Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

     Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

     Shlomo Amar
    Shlomo Amar
    Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar has been the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Rishon LeZion since his appointment in 2003. His colleague is Rabbi Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel....

     criticized Benedict's remarks, writing: "our way is to honour every religion and every nation according to their paths, as it is written in the book of prophets: 'because every nation will go in the name of its Lord.'"

The Rabbi went on to denounce Islamic violence against Christians, stating that "Our Muslim brothers would add respect to their religion if they outdid themselves and overcame the feelings of humiliation."

Non-religious commentary

  • In an article published in CounterPunch
    Counterpunch can refer to:* Counterpunch , a punch in boxing* CounterPunch, a bi-weekly political newsletter* Counterpunch , a type of punch used in traditional typography* Punch-Counterpunch, a Transformers character...

    , author Tariq Ali
    Tariq Ali
    Tariq Ali , , is a British Pakistani military historian, novelist, journalist, filmmaker, public intellectual, political campaigner, activist, and commentator...

     said, "The Bavarian is a razor-sharp reactionary cleric. I think he knew what he was saying and why. In a neo-liberal
    Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

     world suffering from environmental degradation, poverty, hunger, repression, a 'planet of slums' (in the graphic phrase of Mike Davis
    Mike Davis (scholar)
    Mike Davis is an American Marxist social commentator, urban theorist, historian, and political activist. He is best known for his investigations of power and social class in his native Southern California.-Life:...

    ), the Pope chooses to insult the founder of a rival faith. The reaction in the Muslim world was predictable, but depressingly insufficient."

  • A different view was taken by Christopher Hitchens
    Christopher Hitchens
    Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

    , who wrote in "Fighting Words" for Slate
    Slate (magazine)
    Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

     web magazine that Pope Benedict "has managed to do a moderate amount of harm—and absolutely no good—to the very tense and distraught discussion now in progress between Europe and Islam." Hitchens also presented what he feels is a problem with the focus of the Pope's speech with respect to Reason: "now its new reactionary leader has really 'offended' the Muslim world, while simultaneously asking us to distrust the only reliable weapon—reason—that we possess in these dark times. A fine day's work, and one that we could well have done without."

  • Hans Köchler
    Hans Köchler
    Hans Köchler is a professor of philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and president of the International Progress Organization, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations...

    , head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck and a leading advocate of civilizational dialogue, wrote in a commentary: "In his lecture preaching the compatibility of reason and faith, Benedict XVI, the scholar, deliberately overlooks the fact that the insights of Greek philosophy — its commitment to the λόγος — have been brought to medieval Christian Europe by the great Muslim thinkers of the Middle Ages
    Middle Ages
    The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

    . What he calls the 'encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought' ... was, to a large extent, the result of the influence of Muslim philosophers — at a time when European Christians were totally ignorant of classical Greek philosophy."

Official Vatican declaration

On 16 September 2006, Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, released a declaration explaining that the "position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate
Nostra Aetate
Nostra Aetate is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI.The first draft, entitled "Decretum de...

" and that "the Pope's option in favour of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal."

Response to official declaration

For many Muslim leaders, the declaration on 16 September was insufficient to rectify the situation. A representative for the Muslim Brotherhood rejected the Vatican statement, noting "Has he presented a personal apology for statements by which he clearly is convinced? No." Grand Mufti
Grand Mufti
The title of Grand Mufti refers to the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country. The Grand Mufti issues legal opinions and edicts, fatwā, on interpretations of Islamic law for private clients or to assist judges in deciding cases...

 Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh
Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash-Shaikh
Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Lateef Aal ash-Shaikh is a Muslim scholar and the current Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia.-Biography:...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

's highest religious authority, called the pope's declaration "lies", adding that they "show that reconciliation between religions is impossible." On the other hand, the Muslim Council of Britain
Muslim Council of Britain
The Muslim Council of Britain is a self-appointed umbrella body for national, regional, local and specialist organisations and institutions from different ethnic and sectarian backgrounds within British Islamic society. It was established in 1997 to help Muslims, to increase education about the...

 had a more favourable view of the declaration, issuing their own statement on 16 September that the Pope's expression of "sincere regret" was "a good first step."

Pope's Angelus

On 17 September, before his regular weekly Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict XVI stated the following:

Reactions to Angelus

The Angelus speech initially received a mixed yet predominantly negative response. Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, Grand Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 of Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo, a Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 institution, stated "We have no objection if the Pope holds another speech and declares publicly that what the Byzantine emperor had said was wrong. At the same time, the Pope has to apologize frankly and justify what he said," Mohammed Habib
Mohammed Habib
Mohammed Habib was a Deputy General Guide and the second-in-command of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He was expected to be the next leader of the organization, after former leader, Supreme Guide Mehdi Akef, announced his resignation in April 2009....

, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, Egypt's main Islamic opposition group originally, not long after the Pope's Sunday statements, called them a sufficient apology. However, later in the day, he retracted that statement, saying, "The Pope's comments that downplayed his earlier remarks are not enough. We will not accept anything less than an apology," Mohammed Habib also said: "It does not rise to the level of a clear apology and, based on this, we're calling on the Pope of the Vatican to issue a clear apology that will decisively end any confusion.

This sentiment was shared by the governments of Malaysia ("inadequate to calm the anger"), and Jordan ("a step forward", but "not sufficient"), by Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydın
Mehmet Aydın
Mehmet Aydın is one of Turkey's Ministers of State. As a representative of the Justice and Development Party from Izmir, he was elected to Parliament in the 2002 general elections.-Education and academic career:...

 ("you either have to say this 'I'm sorry' in a proper way or not say it at all. Are you sorry for saying such a thing or because of its consequences?") and scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who called for a "peaceful international day of rage" on his popular TV show on Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...

: "[The Pope's latest statements] were no apology. They were an accusation against Muslims that they didn't understand his words."

Later comments were more favourable of the Pope.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "We respect the Pope and all those interested in peace and justice," and said he accepted the Vatican view that the pontiff’s words had been "misinterpreted" and "taken out of context".

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said: "I suppose we could accept this. We hope that there would be no other statements that would anger Muslims."

Ali Bardakoğlu, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate said that Benedict’s "expression of sadness is a sign that he would work for world peace."

Australian Muslim leader Ameer Ali
Ameer Ali
Ameer Ali is the ex-President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, an umbrella group for various Islamic groups or councils in Australia...

 said Australian Muslims must "accept the Pope's apology" over remarks that offended Islam and "move on". Filipino Muslims expressed support for Pope Benedict's apology and blamed certain media outlets for increasing the tensions between Muslims and Catholics.

Diplomatic initiative

On 25 September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI held an audience with Muslim diplomats, ambassadors of Muslim countries and members of the Consulta Islamica, the Italian government appointed consultative body on Islamic affairs. The meeting was an effort to mend relations with the Muslim community. Pope Benedict's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi
Federico Lombardi
Federico Lombardi, SJ is an Italian Roman Catholic priest and the current director of the Holy See Press Office.-Early life and ordination:...

, said the meeting at Castel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo
Castel Gandolfo is a small Italian town or comune in Lazio that occupies a height overlooking Lake Albano about 15 miles south-east of Rome, on the Alban Hills. It is best known as the summer residence of the Pope. It is an Italian town with the population of 8834...

, the Pope's summer residence, was "certainly a sign that dialogue is returning to normal after moments of … misunderstanding."

During the session, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his conviction that the dialogue between Muslims and Christians is "a vital necessity" for the good of a world marked by relativism
Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration....

, one that "excludes the transcendence and universality of reason." At this meeting, Pope Benedict expressed "all the esteem and the profound respect that (he has) for Muslim believers." Among the ambassadors invited were those from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, as well as many other nations and Islamic groups.

Change of text

Pope Benedict has taken another step to placate anger in the Islamic world over his remarks on holy war, making additions to his original text by re-affirming that a quotation from a 14th century Byzantine emperor was not his personal opinion. The original text said the emperor's remark was made "somewhat brusquely." The new version says that it was made with "a brusqueness that we find unacceptable." Pope Benedict added in a footnote:
In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation. I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Quran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion.
He said he cited the text as part of an examination of the "relationship between faith and reason."

Open letters from top Muslim clerics

On 12 October 2006, 100 of the most respected and influential Muslim scholars and clerics, including the Grand Mufti
A mufti is a Sunni Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law . In religious administrative terms, a mufti is roughly equivalent to a deacon to a Sunni population...

 of Egypt, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Bosnia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, Turkey, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, as well as clerics and academics from the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Europe and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, published an Open Letter to the Pope. All the eight schools of thought and jurisprudence in Islam
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 are represented by the signatories. The 38 signatories to the letter declare that they accept the Pope's "personal expression of sorrow and assurance that the controversial quote did not reflect his personal opinion" and responded to some of the main substantive issues raised in the Pope's treatment of a debate between the medieval Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and an "educated Persian," including reason and faith; forced conversion; "jihad" vs. "holy war"; and the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

The open letters also provided a surprising answer to Manuel II Palaiologos' question, "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." It is:
On 11 October 2007, one year after the release of the open letter to the Pope, a larger group of 138 Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals sent another open letter, titled A Common Word Between Us and You, to Pope Benedict and the leaders of other Christian denominations. This letter emphasized that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and share many values, including living in peace with one's neighbours.

Protests, attacks and threats

Security was discreetly stepped up around and inside the Vatican City, because of concerns about the possibility of acts of violence. Thousands of people took part in many protests.

At least five churches were attacked by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank city of Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, firebombing
Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs....

s left black scorch marks on the walls and windows of the city's Anglican
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 and Greek Orthodox churches
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

. At least five firebombs hit the Anglican church and its door was later set ablaze. A group called the Lions of Monotheism who said they were carried out to protest the pope's speech.

Later that day, four masked gunmen doused the main doors of Nablus' Roman and Greek Catholic churches with lighter fluid, then set them afire. They also opened fire on the buildings, striking both with bullets. In Gaza City, militants opened fire from a car at a Greek Orthodox church, striking the facade. Explosive devices were set off at the same Gaza church on Friday, causing minor damage. There were no claims of responsibility for the last three attacks.

Several organizations, such as Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 and the Mujahideen Shura Council threatened in a joint statement: "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

, and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose the jizya
Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria...

 tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (being killed by) the sword. ... God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...


Employees of Ankara's Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Presidency of Religious Affairs), the state body that organizes Muslim worship in Turkey, asked the authorities on September 19 to open legal proceedings
Trial (law)
In law, a trial is when parties to a dispute come together to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court...

 against Pope Benedict XVI and to arrest him when he visits the country in November 2006. They said the Pontiff had violated Turkish laws upholding freedom of belief and thought by "insulting" Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Outside Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral in London is the mother church of the Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster...

, on 18 September2006, around a hundred protestors held banners which included calls for the Pope's execution, "Pope go to Hell" and "Jesus is the slave of Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

", "Islam will conquer Rome," and "May Allah curse the Pope."

The Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

 in Pakistan has issued a fatwā
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 asking the Muslim community to kill Pope Benedict for his "blasphemous statement
Islam and blasphemy
Blasphemy in Islam is any irreverent behavior toward holy personages, religious artifacts, customs, and beliefs that Muslims revere. The Quran and the hadith do not speak about blasphemy. Jurists created the offence, and they made it part of Sharia. Where Sharia pertains, the penalties for...

" about Mohammad.

Nun killed

On 17 September 2006, two Somali
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 gunmen shot and killed a 65 year-old Italian nun, Sister Leonella Scogbati
Leonella Sgorbati
Sister Leonella Sgorbati was an Italian Roman Catholic nun who was murdered in Somalia shortly after controversial comments by Pope Benedict XVI concerning Islam....

, working at the Austrian-run children's hospital in the city of Mogadishu
Mogadishu , popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries....

, with her Somali bodyguard. A senior Somali Islamist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "There is a very high possibility the people who killed her were angered by the Catholic Pope's recent comments against Islam"; anyway, he offered no specific evidence for that motive.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, member of the Islamic Courts Union, said there was a "concrete possibility" that the murder of the nun was "a reprisal for the Pope's remarks on Islam".
However, several humanitarian workers and Christian volunteers have been murdered by Islamic gunmen in Somalia, including Italian bishop Salvatore Colombo
Salvatore Colombo
The Most Rev. Dr. Pietro Salvatore Monsignor Colombo, O.F.M., Bishop of Mogadiscio, was born 28 October 1922 in Carate Brianza, Italy. He was murdered on 9 July 1989 in Mogadishu, Somalia.-Biography:...

 shot dead during celebrating mass in Mogadishu
Mogadishu , popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries....

 in 1989, Graziella Fumagalli, an Italian medical doctor, killed in 1995 in the anti-TBC Center she was running; Annalena Tonelli
Annalena Tonelli
Annalena Tonelli was an Italian Roman Catholic volunteer working for 33 years in the Horn of Africa focusing on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, campaigns for eradication of female genital mutilation, and special schools for hearing-impaired, blind and disabled children .In June...

 assassinated in 2003 in a unique relief center in Borama, after 33 years of service to the poorest, and Dick and Enid Eyeington
Dick and Enid Eyeington
Dick and Enid Eyeington were British aid workers to Somalia. They were murdered in the northwestern town of Sheikh, Somaliland region of Somalia in 2003.- South Africa :...

 in 2003.

Attacks on Christians in Iraq

In Iraq, the flags of Germany
Flag of Germany
The flag of Germany is a tricolour consisting of three equal horizontal bands displaying the national colours of Germany: black, red, and gold....

, Israel
Flag of Israel
The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the country's establishment. It depicts a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes...

, and the United States
Flag of the United States
The national flag of the United States of America consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars alternating with rows...

, and Christian crosses
A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

 and effigies
An effigy is a representation of a person, especially in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional form.The term is usually associated with full-length figures of a deceased person depicted in stone or wood on church monuments. These most often lie supine with hands together in prayer,...

 of Pope Benedict were burned in Basra
Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...


Iraq has one of the largest Christian minorities in the Middle East, where Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 number about one million. Since the Pope's comments, several churches have been bombed; however, many were being bombed since before the Pope's comments starting with the US invasion in 2003 in the power vacuum created by the fall of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

. A previously unknown Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

-based group, Kataab Ashbal Al Islam Al Salafi (Islamic Salafist Boy Scout Battalions) threatened to kill all Christians in Iraq if the Pope does not apologize to Muhammad within three days. Christian Leaders in Iraq asked their parishioners not to leave their homes, after two Christians were stabbed and killed in Baghdad.

There were reports of writing in church doors stating "If the Pope does not apologise, we will bomb all churches, kill more Christians and steal their property and money."

The Iraqi militia Jaish al-Mujahedin (Holy Warriors' Army) announced its intention to "destroy their cross in the heart of Rome… and to hit the Vatican."

Despite the Pope's comments dying down in the media, attacks on Assyrian Christians
East Syrian Rite
The East Syrian Rite is a Christian liturgy, also known as the Assyro-Chaldean Rite, Assyrian or Chaldean Rite, and the Persian Rite although it originated in Edessa, Mesopotamia...

 continued and on 9 October, Islamic extremist group kidnapped priest Paulos Iskander. The relatives of a Christian priest who was beheaded 3 days later in Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

, have said that his Muslim captors had demanded his church condemn the pope's recent comments about Islam and pay a $350,000 ransom.

Controversial statements about Qur'an chapter 2

Another point of controversy, widely covered in Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

News media
The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...

, but much less so in Western media, was the Pope's assessment that sura (i.e. Chapter) 2 in the Qur'an, which includes the verse
Ayah or Aayah is the Arabic word for sign or proof:"These are the Ayat of Allah, which We recite to you with truth...

 "There is no compulsion in religion", was "one of the suras of the early period, when Muhammad was still powerless and under threat", and that instructions "concerning holy war" had come later.

Many scholar
Scholarly method
Scholarly method or scholarship is the body of principles and practices used by scholars to make their claims about the world as valid and trustworthy as possible, and to make them known to the scholarly public.-Methods:...

s of Islam have taken this as a classification of the sura as stemming from the earlier Meccan period
Meccan sura
The Meccan suras are the chronologically earlier suras of the Qur'an that were, according to Islamic tradition, revealed anytime before the Hijrah . The other type of sura is the Madinan sura....

 and have shown the Pope to be mistaken by pointing out that Surah 2 was revealed
Wahi is the Arabic word for revelation. In Islamic context, it refers to the revelations of God to his prophets, for all humankind. In Islam, the Qur'an is considered a wahi given to Muhammad.-Awha:...

 in various stages and that this verse was revealed after Muhammad's hijra
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

 from Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, during his period of stay in Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 and hence is from the Medinan period which was the final stage of the revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 of the Qur'an when the Muslims were becoming numerous and increasingly powerful and safe from the immediate dangers that had overshadowed them for 13 years in Mecca. The scholars also point out that the Pope failed to mention that even if this verse was revealed when the Muslims were weak, they could have easily abrogated it with another verse which gave them permission to forcefully convert people once they finally conquered Mecca
Conquest of Mecca
Mecca was conquered by the Muslims in January 630 AD .-Background:In 628 the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina signed a 10 year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah....

; this, however, did not happen.

Assessment of the lecture's purpose

In contrast to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

, the media focus was not on the issues of free speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 or injured religious sensitivities. Underlying the widely talked about question of whether or not the Pope should apologize, and whether or not his subsequent statements even constituted an apology, several competing and separate interpretations of his intentions have been proffered. These are, broadly and in no particular order:
  • Responses to the speech ignore the fact that the Vatican advised against the US led invasion of Iraq, supports Turkey's entry into the EU, supports allowing muslims in France the freedom to wear headscarves, and has been part of a long campaign to promote basic human rights for Christians in Muslim dominated countries where they are persecuted / killed (Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

    , Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

    , post-war Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

    ) or marginalized (most of the rest of the Islamic world including secular Turkey).

  • The lecture was claimed by many Catholic apologists to not be directed at Islam at all and the incendiary passages were purely circumstantial to the lecture's real intention, which was to counter the demotion of theology in the university environment in particular and of faith in a society plagued by postmodern
    Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

     relativism and irrationality in general.

  • Pope Benedict's lecture was a "calculated risk
    Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity will lead to a loss . The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists . Potential losses themselves may also be called "risks"...

    ," a move designed to win the heart
    The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

    s of the Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church who are surrounded by Muslims and whom Pope Benedict would be visiting in November, 2006. Given what he sees as close theological affinities between these two churches and other personal characteristics specific to Pope Benedict (traditional liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

    ; criticism of historical-critical approach to biblical studies), "some form of reunion is not only feasible; from Benedict's point of view, it is highly desirable."

  • Pope Benedict's lecture portends a parting from the Vatican's previous policies on dialogue with Islam, away from promoting harmony
    In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

     at all costs towards more reciprocity; that is, he wants the Muslim world opened up for Christian missions
    Mission (Christian)
    Christian missionary activities often involve sending individuals and groups , to foreign countries and to places in their own homeland. This has frequently involved not only evangelization , but also humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged...

     in the same way that Europe is open to Muslims and conversion out of Islam
    Religious conversion
    Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

     to be a legal
    Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

     or social
    The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

     possibility. In this view, according to the Pope, the position of Christians in Muslim-majority countries must be improved. However, observers state that Europe is not run by the as a Christian state but from the principles of liberal
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

    Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

     which can be traced to the Age of Enlightenment
    Age of Enlightenment
    The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

    , which was inspired in part by the region's Christian principles though sometimes at odds with Church authorities. It was also the Papal Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto
    Battle of Lepanto (1571)
    The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece...

     that protected Europe's growth by preventing a massive Ottoman invasion of Europe in 1571. European countries must allow all people regardless of religion the ability to build places of worship
    Place of worship
    A place of worship or house of worship is an establishment or her location where a group of people comes to perform acts of religious study, honor, or devotion. The form and function of religious architecture has evolved over thousands of years for both changing beliefs and architectural style...

     due to the secular
    Secularity is the state of being separate from religion.For instance, eating and bathing may be regarded as examples of secular activities, because there may not be anything inherently religious about them...

     nature of European constitutions. Some European countries disallow the wearing of muslim scarves, something the Catholic church has condemned these governments for. One must also be aware that most Muslim countries are ruled by secular dictatorship
    A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

    s, though many also allow Islamic law Sharia
    Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

     to govern.

See also

  • Catholic-Muslim Forum
    Catholic-Muslim Forum
    The Catholic-Muslim Forum is a forum for dialogue between Catholics and Muslims. The first summit took place on 4-6 November 2008 in Vatican with nearly fifty delegates. The chosen theme was "Love of God, Love of Neighbour."-External links:******...

  • A Common Word Between Us and You
    A Common Word Between Us and You
    A Common Word between Us and You is an open letter, dated 13 October 2007, from leaders of the Muslim faith to leaders of the Christian faith. It calls for peace between Muslims and Christians and tries to work for common ground and understanding among both faiths, in line with the Qur'anic...

  • Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy
    Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy
    The Lars Vilks Muhammad drawings controversy began in July 2007 with a series of drawings by Swedish artist Lars Vilks that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog . Several art galleries in Sweden declined to show the drawings, citing security concerns and fear of violence...

Further reading

  • Schall, James V. The Regensburg Lecture. St. Augustine's Press, 2007. [176 page book by Catholic political philosopher.]

External links

.-"The Word of Ratzinger". Pilar Rahola. El Periódico,17/09/2006. http://www.pilarrahola.com/3_0/ARTICULOS/default.cfm?ID=396&SUBFAM=8
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.