Protests and Condemnations in Response to Pope's Remarks on Islam

September 16, 2006

Source: The Washington Post

On September 16, 2006 The Washington Post reported, "A medieval reference in an academic lecture by Pope Benedict XVI unleashed a wave of denunciations, outrage and frustration across the Muslim world Friday, with officials in Turkey and Pakistan condemning the pontiff, Islamic activist groups organizing protests and a leading religious figure in Lebanon demanding that he personally apologize... The pope began his lecture at the University of Regensburg by quoting from a 14th-century dialogue between the Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologos, and a Persian scholar. In a passage on the concept of holy war, Benedict recited a passage of what he called 'startling brusqueness,' in which Manuel questioned the teachings of Islam's prophet, Muhammad... The pope neither explicitly endorsed nor denounced the emperor's words, but rather used them as a preface to a discussion of faith and reason. The Vatican said the pope did not intend the remarks to be offensive to Muslims... But the reaction was quick, and though it was largely peaceful, it evoked the storm of violent protests that erupted in most Muslim countries after a Danish newspaper published a series of cartoons a year ago that lampooned Muhammad."