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Sunday, September 17, 2006

New York Times denounces pope's remarks on Islam

The New York Times published an editorial, in which it called Pope Benedict XVI's latest remarks about Islam "tragic and dangerous" and urged him to apologize.

Speaking in the German city of Regensburg Tuesday, the pontiff implicitly denounced links between Islam and violence particularly in regard to jihad, or "holy war."

Quoting a 14th-century Byzantine emperor on the Prophet Mohammed, founder of the Muslim faith, the head of the Roman Catholic Church said: "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed 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.'"

The Times recalled that this was "not the first time the pope has fomented discord between Christians and Muslims."

In 2004 when he was still the Vatican's top theologian, he spoke out against Turkeys joining the European Union, because Turkey, as a Muslim country was in permanent contrast to Europe, the paper recalled.

"A doctrinal conservative, his greatest fear appears to be the loss of a uniform Catholic identity, not exactly the best jumping-off point for tolerance or interfaith dialogue," the editorial said.

"The world listens carefully to the words of any pope," The Times continued. "And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly. He needs to offer a deep and persuasive apology, demonstrating that words can also heal."

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