Muslim Leaders Eager to Hear What Pope Has to Say in U.S. Visit

April 12, 2008


Source: The Journal News

The new pope could hardly have gotten off to a rockier start with the Muslim world.

It was September 2006. Regensburg, Germany. Pope Benedict XVI was giving a speech about the need for balance between faith and reason, a talk that would likely have attracted little worldwide attention.

But the pope slipped in a quotation from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who said that Islam's Prophet Muhammad brought "things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

And the international protests began.

Since then, though, the pope has quietly rebounded from the sudden controversy to embrace a new dialogue with Muslims. As he prepares to visit the United States, in fact, local Muslim leaders are curious and hopeful about what he might say.