Source: BBC News
On September 16, 2006 BBC News reported, "Pope Benedict XVI has said he is sorry that a speech in which he referred to Islam has offended Muslims. In a statement read out by a senior Vatican official, the Pope said he respected Islam and hoped Muslims would understand the true sense of his words. In Tuesday's speech the Pope quoted a 14th Century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad had brought the world only 'evil and inhuman' things. The remarks prompted protests from Muslims around the world. The BBC's Christian Fraser in Rome says the speed with which the Vatican has reacted shows just how seriously it views the situation. Reading the statement, new Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said the Pope's position on Islam was in line with Vatican teaching that the Church 'esteems Muslims, who adore the only God'. 'The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers,' the statement said... Reactions to the speech have come from such leaders as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who said efforts to link Islam and terrorism should be clearly opposed. Street protests have been held in Pakistan, India, Turkey and Gaza. In the West Bank city of Nablus, two churches were firebombed on Saturday in attacks claimed by a group which said it was protesting against the Pope's remarks."