2006 News Story

Muslim groups condemn offensive statements by Pope Benedict XVI

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) today denounced recent statements by Pope Benedict XVI criticizing Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

In remarks at the University of Regensburg in Germany on September 12, Benedict quoted 14th-century Christian emperor Manuel Paleologos II who said that the Prophet had brought the world “evil and inhuman” things. “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad 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,’” Benedict said.

In a statement, the Riyadh-based Secretariat General of the GCC said that the Pope’s statements distort the fact that Islam has long urged love and peace, not violence and hatred. The GCC said it was surprised that the head of the Catholic Church would issue such a statement that widens the gap between Europe and the Islamic world and undermines efforts to enhance dialogue among cultures. The Vatican should apologize to Muslims, the GCC noted.

The Jeddah-based OIC also issued a statement condemning the Pope’s remarks, noting that they show ignorance about Islam and its history. The OIC won’t engage in a discussion of all of the religious wars that have been waged against Muslims by the Church in the name of Jesus, including the Crusades and the Inquisition, the statement said. The OIC also expressed the hope that the Pope’s comments do not reflect a new Vatican policy towards Muslims.