Syrian Muslim and Christian Leaders Satisfied with Pope's Response

September 17, 2006

Source: Khaleej Times

On September 17, 2006 the Khaleej Times reported, "Syrian Muslim and Christian clergymen expressed satisfaction on Sunday following Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that he was ‘deeply sorry’ about the angry reaction sparked by his speech about Islam and holy war, and said the text did not reflect his personal opinion. Mohammad Habash, a legislator and head of the Islamic Studies Centre, said: ‘I am not happy to see a rift between Islam and Christians or between the West and the East.... We have to avoid our countries and religions from entering these kinds of conflicts.’ He said the Pope has submitted a ‘clarification and not an apology,’ but Habash added: ‘It is our duty to call for calm and dialogue. We understand the reasons for (Muslim) anger, but we do not call for it and we call instead for calm and dialogue'... Meanwhile, Isidore Battikha, the Greek Catholic Bishop of Homs in central Syria, said ‘that’s what we were expecting from the Pope as the teachings of Jesus call for tolerance and moderation.’"