September 16, 2006

Turkish Official Compares Pope To Hitler; Benedict's Speech Provokes Outrage in Muslim World

Segments of a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg on September 12th have provoked outrage across the Muslim world, most notably in Turkey. Ironically, the Pope is scheduled to visit Turkey in November, his first official visit to a Muslim country.

What exactly did the Pope say to cause such a reaction? Well, during his academic discourse, the head of the Roman Catholic church cited an obscure medieval text in which Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who, while commenting on the relationship between religion and violence says,

"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".

Surprisingly, the most vociferous reaction to what the Pope said have come from Turkey, an alleged secular state. Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister's Islamic-based ASP party said the Pope's remarks, " were either the result of pitiful ignorance about Islam and its prophet, or worse, a deliberate distortion". capsize added, "Benedict is going down in history for his words. He is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini."

Even Turkey's pro-secular CAP opposition party has demanded that the Pope apologize before his November visit.


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