VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict is sorry Muslims were offended by a speech on Islam that provoked fury around the world and led to calls for the leader of the Catholic church to apologize, an aide said on Saturday.
``The Holy Father is very sorry that some passages of his speech may have sounded offensive to the sensibilities of Muslim believers,'' said Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in a statement.
The worst crisis since Benedict was elected in April 2005 was sparked by a speech in his native Germany on Tuesday that appeared to endorse a Christian view, contested by most Muslims, that early Muslims spread their religion by violence...
Yemen's president became the first head of state publicly to denounce him and two churches -- neither of them Catholic -- were fire-bombed in the West Bank, although no one was hurt...
BACK TO CRUSADES
Angry Muslim leaders flung the supposed allegations of violence back in the face of the Christian West.
``How can (the Pope) imply that Muslims are the creators of terrorism in the world while it is the followers of Christianity who have aggressed against every country of the Islamic world?'' prominent Saudi cleric Salman al-Odeh said. ''Who attacked Afghanistan and who invaded Iraq?''
In Libya, the General Instance of Religious Affairs said the ``insult ... pushes us back to the era of crusades against Muslims led by Western political and religious leaders.''
Turkish paper Vatan quoted a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party saying Benedict ``will go down in history in the same category as leaders like Hitler and Mussolini.''
Catholic bishops in Turkey feared the angry local reaction, led by the Grand Mufti, may demonstrate that due to its struggle to gain admission to the European Union, public opinion in Turkey was ``shifting against the Pope's planned visit.''
In Iraq, the government asked Muslims who felt offended not to take their anger out on the small Christian minority, after the door of a church in Basra was attacked overnight.
Папа (да и весь Запад) выглядит как занюханный интеллигент, к которому в темном переулке пристала кучка отморозков с требованием «дай закурить». «Дай закурить» - лишь повод придраться и ограбить «шурика».